Nucleic acids are carriers of cellular information that determine the hereditary characteristics of all living things.
Nucleic acids are nucleotide polymers that are divided into 2 types: DNA, deoxyribonucleic polymer and RNA, ribonucleic polymer.
Nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) work together to store and transmit genes (hereditary characteristics) and instructions to determine the functions of vital proteins.
Nucleic acids are found both in cell nuclei, as in mitochondria, chloroplasts and in the cytoplasm, such as prokaryotic cells (without nucleus) of bacteria and viruses.
It is called nucleic acid because it was first discovered in the nucleus of the cells by the Swiss biologist Friedrich Miescher (1844-1895).
Function of nucleic acids
Nucleic acids have the important function of storing the genetic information of cells, and also of transporting and transmitting said instructions for the synthesis of the necessary proteins.
Structure of nucleic acids
The primary structure of nucleic acids is a nucleotide sequence. Each nucleotide is composed of a pentose (5-carbon monosaccharide), a phosphate group and a nitrogen base.
Several nucleotides bind through a bond known as the phosphodiester bridge to form polynucleotide chains. These chains form the skeleton of nucleic acids that laterally project an alternate succession of pentoses, phosphate groups and nitrogen bases.
Characteristics of nucleic acids
Nucleic acids are characterized by macromolecules that store or allow the transfer of genetic information that will determine the characteristics and functions of vital proteins of a living being.
These macromolecules are formed by nucleotide polymers or also called polynucleotides.
Types of nucleic acids
There are 2 types of nucleic acids: DNA and RNA.
The DNA is a polymer of deoxyribonucleotides called deoxyribonucleic acid. It contains the genetic information and instructions for the formation and synthesis of the proteins necessary for a given organism.
The RNA is a polymer of ribonucleotides known as ribonucleic acid. Together with the DNA, it directs the synthesis process of the transported proteins and transmitting the information to the ribosomes.
In this sense, the RNA can be divided into: messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA) and ribosomal RNA (rRNA).