Molecular Biology Tutorials

Different Forms of DNA (A-DNA, B-DNA and Z-DNA) A Comparison Table with PPT


A-DNA, B-DNA and Z-DNA

Different Types of DNA Conformations
(A-DNA, B-DNA and Z-DNA: A Comparison Table)

DNA, the genetic information carrier molecule of the cell, is a long polymer of nucleotides and can adopt different types of structural conformations. The various types of conformations that the DNA can adopt depend on different factors such as:

1.      Hydration level
2.      Salt concentration
3.      DNA sequence
4.      Quantity and direction of super-coiling
5.      Presence of chemically modified bases
6.      Different types of metal ions and its concentrations
7.      Presence of polyamines in solution.

The most common types of structural conformations of DNA are named as:

(1).  A-DNA

(2).  B-DNA

(3).  Z-DNA

Among these three types, the most abundant type of DNA is B-DNA, commonly known as Watson-Crick Model of DNA double helix. The present post describes the structural features of A, B and Z forms of DNA in a comparative manner. We will also discuss the similarities and differences between A-DNA, B-DNA and Z-DNA.

(1). A-DNA

A-DNA is a rare type of structural conformation that a DNA can adopt under dehydrating conditions. A-DNA is a double stranded helical structure almost similar to B-DNA but with a shorter and more compact structural organization. A-DNA was discovered by Rosalind Franklin and the credit for the naming of A-DNA and B-DNA was also accounted to her. Important structural features of A-DNA are given below:

Ø  A-DNA is formed from B-DNA under dehydrating condition.

Ø  A-DNA is much wider and flatter than B-DNA.

Ø  Similar to B-DNA, the A-DNA is also a right handed helix.

Ø  The helix diameter of A-DNA is 26 Å.

Continue reading

Molecular Biology Tutorials

Single Stranded DNA (ssDNA) vs Double Stranded DNA (dsDNA): Similarities and Differences


single stranded and double stranded DNA

ssDNA vs dsDNA – A Comparison Table

The DNA molecules are not always double stranded helical structures, sometimes they occur in single stranded form called ssDNA. In 1959 Robert Sinsheimer discovered a unique bacteriophage called φX 174 (which infect Escherichia coli) with single stranded DNA as its genetic material. Even though the chemical composition of single stranded and double stranded DNA are the same, they also show some characteristic differences. The present post describes the similarities and differences between dsDNA and ssDNA.s

Similarities between dsDNA and ssDNA

Ø  Both dsDNA and ssDNA can acts as genetic material

Ø  Both are polymers of nucleic acids

Ø  The sugar molecule in both the case is deoxyribose

Ø  Both contain purines and pyramidines

Ø  Both ssDNA and dsDNA contain the nitrogen bases A, G, T and C

Ø  Both can absorb UV light

Difference between dsDNA vs  ssDNA

Continue reading

Molecular Biology Tutorials

Difference between Necrosis and Apoptosis: A Comparison Table


necrosis vs apoptosis

Apoptosis vs Necrosis
(Similarities and Differences)

Apoptosis and Necrosis are two types of cell death occur in organisms. The cells undergo death when the cell death becomes necessary as a part of developmental process or they fail to adapt to injuries. Both these types of cell deaths differ in their initial cause and progression of the cell death pathway.

Apoptosis definition (programmed cell death): a physiological process by which unwanted or useless cells are eliminated during the development and other normal biological processes. Often found during tissue homeostasis, embryogenesis, immunological reactions and development of nervous systems. During apoptotic cell death, the cells undergo some characteristic events such as chromatin condensation, nuclear and cytoplasmic aggregation and partitions of cytoplasm and nucleus into membrane bound vesicles called apoptotic bodies containing ribosomes and mitochondria. Apoptotic bodies are recognized and phagocytized by either by macrophages or adjacent cells and thus no inflammatory response are elicited during apoptotic cell death.

Necrosis definition: (accidental cell death) a pathological process occurs when the cells are exposed to serious physical or chemical insults. Occur during pathological infections such as bacterial and fungal infections, hypothermia and hypoxia conditions. The cell and cellular organelles swell and ruptures to release the entire cell content including lysosomal enzymes into the extracellular fluid.  Due to this, necrotic cell deaths are always associated with severe inflammatory response in the surrounding tissues.

The current post describes the similarities and difference between apoptotic and necrotic cell death with a comparison table.

Similarities between Apoptosis and Necrosis

Continue reading

Molecular Biology Tutorials

Nucleosome Model of Chromosomes in Eukaryotes (Short Notes)


structure of nucleosome short notes

image source: scitable

Nucleosome Model of Chromosome

Does the DNA really need to FOLD inside the nucleus?

A diploid human cell contains approximately 6.4 billion base pairs. These 6.4 billion base pairs are distributed in our 23 pairs (2n = 46) of chromosomes. We know that each chromosome contain a single linear segment of DNA.

According to Watson and Crick model, the distance between each base pair in a DNA double helix is 0.34 nm. Thus, the 6.4 billion base pair will constitute a total length of about 2.2 m DNA strand. The total length of DNA of a single human cell is approximately 2.2 meters long (when all 46 DNA strands are joined end to end).

The size of the nucleus in which the chromatin situated is about 10 µm in diameter. Thus, it is evident that the 2.2 m long DNA should fold several times to fit in the nucleus of 10 µm diameter. The exact nature and pattern of folding of DNA strands in the nucleus disclose the organization of genetic material in the cells.

Continue reading

Molecular Biology Tutorials

Folded Fibre Model of Chromosomes


Dupraw model of chromosome

Folded Fibre Model of Chromosome
(The Ultra-structural Organization of DNA and Histone Proteins in the Chromosomes)

The chromosomes of eukaryotic organisms are a complex structural organization of DNA and proteins. The exact structural organization of proteins and DNA to form the chromatin material (or chromosomes during cell division) is a curious question in the scientific community. This curiosity becomes a wonder when we realize the total length of DNA in a single cell and size of the nucleus in which this DNA is residing. For example, in a diploid human cell, there will be 46 chromosomes. The DNA in all these 46 chromosomes when joined together, it will have a distance of about 2.2 meters. Thus, the average length of DNA in a single chromosome will be 4.8 cm or 48,000 µm (2.2 X 100/46). On an average, the human chromosome at its metaphase stage is about 6 µm long. This means the 48,000 µm long DNA strand is heavily folded to from the 6 µm long chromosome with a packing ratio of about 8000 : 1. The exact folding pattern of DNA is a highly debated concept.  For explaining the structural organization of DNA and proteins in the chromosome, various theories have been put forward by different scientists. DuPraw Folded Fibre Model and Nucleosome Model are the two such models trying to explain the ultra-structural organization of DNA and proteins in the chromosome. The present post describes the significance of Folded Fibre Model of Chromosomes and its merits and demerits.

Folded Fibre Model of Chromosome

Ø  The Folded Fibre Model of chromosome was proposed by DuPraw in 1965.

Ø  He published this model based on his studies on human chromosomes using electron microscope.

Continue reading