Nucleic Acid Structure and General Features

ID #1060

When forming a phosphodiester linkage, two phosphates are broken off. What happens to those two phosphate groups? Do they provide an extra boost of energy? Also, you coined "pyrophosphate group" in lecture, I was hoping you could clarify what that is referring to.

The pyrophosphate group is the two terminal phosphates that get hydrolyzed when a nucleoside triphosphate (NTP or dNTP) gets added to the chain. This segues nicely into your other question, about what happens to that pyrophosphate group. Almost immediately, it gets broken further down into two individual phosphate groups, called inorganic phosphate and denoted as Pi. And yes, this provides additional energy for the formation of that phosphodiester linkage.

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