Dr. Jacqueline Jones
April 15, 2016
Exonuclease: The Natural Gene Corrector
Deoxyribose nucleic acid, more commonly known as DNA, contains the genetic material that connects all living organisms. It is responsible for height, eye color, skin color, and many other traits. DNA is comprised of nucleotides, which contains a nitrogenous base, a pentose sugar, and a phosphate group. There are four nitrogenous bases: adenine, guanine, thymine, and cytosine. These bases are sectioned into two groups, pyrimidines and purines. One pyrimidine binds with one purine; adenine binds with thymine and guanine binds with cytosine. When millions of these bases bind together, DNA in its double helical structure is formed. When DNA is replicated, the two sides are separated by helicase and DNA polymerase, an enzyme, allows for complementary bases to from on the separated strands ("What is DNA? - Genetics Home Reference," 2016). When bases attach, there is a chance that a mutation will occur.
There are many different mutations that can occur including silent mutations, insertions, deletions, frameshift mutations, and nonsense mutations. A silent mutation is a change in a single base that is undetectable. An insertion is the addition of a base and deletion is the removal of a base. A frameshift mutation is a deletion of a single base that causes a shift in the reading frame, which is read in triplet code. The last common mutation is a nonsense mutation where a base is changed to code for a stop codon ("Types of mutations," 2016). When these mutations occur, they can be corrected through proofreading the strand.
Proofreading of DNA is done by exonuclease. According to an article in...
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Fazlieva, R., Spittle, C. S., Morrissey, D., Hayashi, H., Yan, H., & Matsumoto, Y. (2009). Proofreading exonuclease activity of human DNA polymerase and its effects on lesion-bypass DNA synthesis. Nucleic Acids Research, 37(9), 2854-2866. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2685094/
Proofreading Function of DNA Polymerase [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42boKYMontE
Types of mutations. (2016). Retrieved from http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/mutations_03
Wang, D., & Hawley, D. K. (1993). Identification of a 3 '-->5 ' exonuclease activity associated with human RNA polymerase II. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,90(3), 843-847. doi:10.1073/pnas.90.3.843
What is DNA? - Genetics Home Reference. (2016, April 12). Retrieved from https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/basics/dna
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