Nucleotides are the single units that make up nucleic acids like RNA and DNA – literally the building blocks of life.
A nucleotide is the monomer structural unit of nucleotide chains that form the nucleic acids RNA and DNA, as well as several lesser nucleic acids. The nucleotide consists of a heterocyclic nucleobase, a pentose sugar like ribose or deoxyribose, and a phosphate or polyphosphate group.
Nucleotides code for proteins and enzymes as well as determine the genetic structure of life. They also function to transport and transform cellular energy and regulate enzymes. Without nucleotides, we would not have a genetic code.
Most nucleotides are adenine (A), guanine (G), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and urasil (U). When nucleotides pair together to form RNA or DNA, only the A and T nucleotides will pair, and only the C nucleotide and either the T or U nucleotide will pair. Thymine is found in DNA. Urasil is found only in RNA.
Each nucleotide contains three items:
- A heterocyclic nucleobase (purines or pyrimidines)
- A pentose suger (ribose for RNA, deoxyribose for DNA)
- A monophosphate, diphosphate, or triphosphate
Nucleotides are also crucial for cellular energy transportation and transformation and in the regulation of enzymes.
Nucleotides are named by four-letter codes. In order, the letters mean:
1. The nucleotide is a ribonucleotide – "r" (for RNA) or a deoxyribonucleotide – "d" (for DNA)
2. The nucleoside is Guanine – "G", Adenine – "A", Thymine – "T", Cytosine – "C", or Uracil – "U". Uracil is rarely present in DNA, but takes the place of Thymine in RNA. (In DNA or RNA reactions, "A" nucleosides bond to either "T" or "U"; "G" bond only to "C".)
3. Whether the phosphate is a Mono-, Di-, or Tri-
4. The presence of a phosphate.
So dCTP would be Deoxy – cytidine – tri – phosphate.
Some of the most important nucleotides are adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), for either RNA or DNA; these two nucleotides are critical in the processing of cellular energy and are found in every living thing.
Web Resources On Nucleotide
Chemical Structure of Nucleotides
Book Resources On Nucleotide
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms: Methods and Protocols by Pui-Yan Kwok
Reagents for Glycoside, Nucleotide, and Peptide Synthesis by David Crich
Cyclic Nucleotides & Therapeutic Perspectives by Conference Proceedings