Nucleic acid

  • nucleic acid
  • Any of several organic acids combined with proteins (DNA or RNA) which exist in the nucleus and protoplasm of all cells.
Abstract from DBPedia
    Nucleic acids are biopolymers, macromolecules, essential to all known forms of life. They are composed of nucleotides, which are the monomers made of three components: a 5-carbon sugar, a phosphate group and a nitrogenous base. The two main classes of nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). If the sugar is ribose, the polymer is RNA; if the sugar is the ribose derivative deoxyribose, the polymer is DNA. Nucleic acids are naturally occurring chemical compounds that serve as the primary information-carrying molecules in cells and make up the genetic material. Nucleic acids are found in abundance in all living things, where they create, encode, and then store information of every living cell of every life-form on Earth. In turn, they function to transmit and express that information inside and outside the cell nucleus to the interior operations of the cell and ultimately to the next generation of each living organism. The encoded information is contained and conveyed via the nucleic acid sequence, which provides the 'ladder-step' ordering of nucleotides within the molecules of RNA and DNA. They play an especially important role in directing protein synthesis. Strings of nucleotides are bonded to form helical backbones—typically, one for RNA, two for DNA—and assembled into chains of base-pairs selected from the five primary, or canonical, nucleobases, which are: adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine, and uracil. Thymine occurs only in DNA and uracil only in RNA. Using amino acids and the process known as protein synthesis, the specific sequencing in DNA of these nucleobase-pairs enables storing and transmitting coded instructions as genes. In RNA, base-pair sequencing provides for manufacturing new proteins that determine the frames and parts and most chemical processes of all life forms.

    核酸(かくさん、英: nucleic acid)は、リボ核酸 (RNA)とデオキシリボ核酸 (DNA)の総称で、塩基と糖、リン酸からなるヌクレオチドがホスホジエステル結合で連なった生体高分子である。糖の部分がリボースであるものがRNA、リボースの2'位の水酸基が水素基に置換された2-デオキシリボースであるものがDNAである。RNAは2'位が水酸基であるため、加水分解を受けることにより、DNAよりも反応性が高く、熱力学的に不安定である。糖の 1'位には塩基(核酸塩基)が結合している。さらに糖の 3'位と隣の糖の 5'位はリン酸エステル構造で結合しており、その結合が繰り返されて長い鎖状になる。転写や翻訳は 5'位から 3'位への方向へ進む。 なお、糖鎖の両端のうち、5'にリン酸が結合して切れている側のほうを 5'末端、反対側を 3'末端と呼んで区別する。また、隣り合う核酸上の領域の、5'側を上流、3'側を下流という。