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DNA structure

3.3.1 Outline DNA nucleotide structure in terms of sugar (deoxyribose), base


and phosphate.
A nucleotide is made of the sugar deoxyribose, a base (which can
be either adenine, guanine, cytosine or thymine) and a phosphate
group. Below is a representation of a nucleotide.
3.3.1 Outline DNA nucleotide structure in terms of a sugar (deoxyribose),
base and phosphate

3.3.2 State the names of the four bases in DNA.


Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine and Thymine.
3.3.3 Outline how DNA nucleotides are linked together by covalent bonds into
a single strand.
Below is a diagram showing how nucleotides are linked to one
another to form a strand. A covalent bond forms between the sugar
of one nucleotide and the phosphate group of another nucleotide.
3.3.3 Outline how the DNA nucleotides are linked together by covalent bonds
into a single strand

Nucleotides a linked into a single strand via a condensation reaction


The phosphate group (attached to the 5'-C of the sugar) joins with the
hydroxyl (OH) group attached to the 3'-C of the sugar
This results in a phosphodiester bond between the two nucleotides and the
formation of a water molecule
Successive condensation reactions between nucleotides results in the
formation of a long single strand

3.3.4 Explain how a DNA double helix is formed using complementary base
pairing and hydrogen bonds.
DNA is made up of two nucleotide strands. The nucleotides are
connected together by covalent bonds within each strand. The sugar
of one nucleotide forms a covalent bond with the phosphate group
of another. The two strands themselves are connected by hydrogen
bonds. The hydrogen bonds are found between the bases of the two
strands of nucleotides. Adenine forms hydrogen bonds with thymine
whereas guanine forms hydrogen bonds with cytosine. This is called
complementary base pairing. Below is a digram showing the
molecular structure and bonds within DNA.
3.3.4 Explain how a DNA double helix is formed using complementary base
pairing and hydrogen bonds
Two polynucleotide chains of DNA are held together by hydrogen bonds
between complementary base pairs
Adenine pairs with thymine (A=T) via two hydrogen bonds
Guanine pairs with cytosine (G=C) via three hydrogen bonds
Thymine

Adenine
Cytosine

Guanine

In order for bases to be facing each other and thus able to pair, the two
strands must run in opposite directions (i.e. they are anti-parallel)
As the polynucleotide chain lengthens, the atoms that make up the molecule
will arrange themselves in an optimal energy configuration
This position of least resistance results in the double-stranded DNA twisting to
form a double helix with approximately 10 - 15 bases per twist

3.3.5 Draw and label a simple diagram of the molecular structure of DNA.

DNA replication
3.4.1 Explain DNA replication in terms of unwinding the double helix and
separation of the strands by helicase, followed by formation of the new
complementary strands by DNA polymerase.
DNA replication is semi-conservative as both of the DNA molecules
produced are formed from an old strand and a new one. The first
stage of DNA replication involves the unwinding of the double
strand of DNA (DNA double helix) and separating them by breaking
the hydrogen bonds between the bases. This is done by the enzyme
helicase. Each separated strand now is a template for the new
strands. There are many free nucleotides around the replication fork
which then bond to the template strands. The free nucleotides form
hydrogen bonds with their complimentary base pairs on the
template strand. Adenine will pair up with thymine and guanine will
pair up with cytosine. DNA polymerase is the enzyme responsible
for this. The new DNA strands then rewind to form a double helix.
The replication process has produced a new DNA molecule which is
identical to the initial one.
3.4.1 Explain DNA replication in terms of unwinding of the double helix and
separation of the strands by helicase, followed by the formation of the new
complementary strands by DNA polymerase
Helicase
Unwinds the DNA and separates the two polynucleotide strands by
breaking the hydrogen bonds between complementary base pairs
The two separated polynucleotide strands act as templates for the synthesis
of new polynucleotide strands
DNA Polymerase

Synthesises new strands from the two parental template strands


Free deoxynucleoside triphosphates (nucleotides with three phosphate
groups) are aligned opposite their complementary base partner and are
covalently bonded together by DNA polymerase to form a
complementary nucleotide chain
The energy for this reaction comes from the cleavage of the two extra
phosphate groups
3.4.2 Explain the significance of complementary base pairing in the
conservation of the base sequence of DNA.
Complementary base pairing is very important in the conservation
of the base sequence of DNA. This is because adenine always pairs
up with thymine and guanine always pairs up with cytosine. As DNA
replication is semi-conservative (one old strand an d one new
strand make up the new DNA molecules), this complementary base
pairing allows the two DNA molecules to be identical to each other
as they have the same base sequence. The new strands formed are
complementary to their template strands but also identical to the
other template. Therefore, complementary base pairing has a big
role in the conservation of the base sequence of DNA.
3.4.2 Explain the significance of complementary base pairing in the
conservation of the base sequence of DNA
Each of the nitrogenous bases can only pair with its complementary partner
(A=T ; G=C)
Consequently, when DNA is replicated by the combined action of helicase
and DNA polymerase:
The new strands formed will be identical to the original strands separated
from the template
The two DNA molecules formed will be identical to the original molecule
DNA Replication is a Semi-Conservative Process

3.4.3 State that DNA replication is semi- conservative.


DNA replication is semi-conservative process because when a new
double-stranded DNA molecule is formed:
One strand will be from the original molecule
One strand will be newly synthesised