Nucleic acids are biopolymers made of nucleotides. A nucleotide consists of a nitrogenous base, a sugar, and one or more phosphate groups. In addition to being the monomer units of DNA and RNA, nucleotides are present in a great many biochemical processes, so in reviewing the nature of nucleic acids, it is good to broaden the focus beyond the chemical properties and structure of DNA and RNA to include the behavior of nucleotides elsewhere in biochemistry. This is a long list including their appearance as activated intermediates in biosynthesis, as the central energy currency of bioenergetics (ATP), as components of many coenzymes (NAD+ and CoA), and as an important mediator in signal transduction (cyclic AMP).
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Conceptual Vocabulary for Nucleic Acids
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