BioCoach Activity

Concept 6: Nucleic Acids

Nucleic acids, built by polymerizing nucleotides, function primarily as informational molecules for the storage and retrieval of information about the primary sequence of polypeptides.

anatomy of a nucleotide w/AMP

There are two types of nucleic acids:

  • Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which serves as a cellular database by storing an immense amount of information about all the polypeptides a cell can potentially make.
  • Ribonucleic acid (RNA), which occurs in several different forms (messenger RNA, ribosomal RNA, transfer RNA) and is needed to convert DNA information into polypeptide sequences; in some viruses, RNA serves as the primary database with no DNA involvement; certain RNAs have catalytic ability similar to that of protein enzymes called ribozymes

Nucleic acids are built from subunits called nucleotides. Each nucleotide has three components:

  1. a ring-shaped molecule belonging to the class of purine or pyrimidine bases
  2. a 5-carbon, or pentose, sugar
  3. one or more phosphate groups