DNA Structure and Replication

ID #1113

What happens to the triphosphate group that is still attached to the first base in a primer?

This source of potential energy isn't lost, it just isn't used, and there's a big difference. When DNA polymerase I removes that nucleotide, it doesn't hydrolyze the triphosphate group, it hydrolyzes the phosphodiester linkage on the "other" side, so what is released is an intact ribonucleoside triphosphate, which could theoretically be used in the next Okazaki fragment or during transcription, any time an NTP is needed.

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