Difference Between Ribonucleotide and Deoxyribonucleotide

The main difference between ribonucleotide and deoxyribonucleotide is that the ribonucleotide is the precursor molecule of RNA while the deoxyribonucleotide is the precursor molecule of DNA. Furthermore, ribonucleotide is made up of a ribose sugar while deoxyribonucleotide is made up of a deoxyribose sugar.

Ribonucleotide and deoxyribonucleotide are two types of precursor molecules of nucleic acids. Both are made up of a pentose sugar, nitrogenous base, and phosphate groups.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Ribonucleotide
     – Definition, Components, Role
2. What is Deoxyribonucleotide
     – Definition, Components, Role
3. What are the Similarities Between Ribonucleotide and Deoxyribonucleotide
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Ribonucleotide and Deoxyribonucleotide
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Deoxyribonucleotide, DNA, Nitrogenous Base, Pentose Sugar, Ribonucleotide, RNA

Difference Between Ribonucleotide and Deoxyribonucleotide - Comparison Summary

What is Ribonucleotide

Ribonucleotide is the form of a nucleotide in the cell made up of ribose sugar. It serves as the precursor of RNA. All five types of nitrogenous bases can occur in ribonucleotides, but the four types of them that occur in RNA are adenine, uracil, guanine, and cytosine. RNA is one of the two types of nucleic acids that occurs in the cell. The main function of RNA is its involvement in protein synthesis.

Difference Between Ribonucleotide and Deoxyribonucleotide

Figure 1: Basic Structure of Ribonucleotide

Ribonucleotides play a key role in facilitating splicing during RNA processing due to the presence of 2’ OH group. Also, ribonucleotides are widely used in other cellular functions such as cell signaling and cell regulation. ATP is the main molecule that transfers energy between biochemical reactions inside the body. It is considered as the energy currency of the cell. On the other hand, cyclic AMP (cAMP) and cyclic GMP (cGMP) are two types of ribonucleotides that act as second messengers.

What is Deoxyribonucleitde

Deoxyribose is the other form of nucleotide in the cell and it is made up of deoxyribose sugars. It is the precursor molecule of DNA. The four types of nitrogenous bases occur in DNA are adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. DNA is the main form of nucleic acids that occur in the cell, performing an important role as the main form of the hereditary molecule.

Main Difference - Ribonucleotide and Deoxyribonucleotide

Figure 2: Formation of Polynucleotides

Similarities Between Ribonucleotide and Deoxyribonucleotide

  • Ribonucleotide and deoxyribonucleotide are the two types of precursor molecules of nucleic acids.
  • Both are made up of a pentose sugar, nitrogenous base, and phosphate group.
  • Pentose sugar is in its β-furanose (closed five-membered ring) form.
  • The nitrogenous base is attached to the 1’ carbon of the pentose sugar while the phosphate group is attached to the 5’ carbon of the pentose sugar.
  • The five types of nitrogenous bases that occur in them include adenine, thymine, uracil, guanine, and cytosine.
  • Both form phosphodiester bonds n the 5’ to 3’ direction, forming the polynucleotide chain.
  • Ribonucleotide can be reduced into its corresponding deoxyribonucleotide by the action of the enzyme, ribonucleotide reductase.
  • Both play an important role in various other functions in the body as well.

Difference Between Ribonucleotide and Deoxyribonucleotide

Definition

Ribonucleotide refers to a nucleotide that contains ribose and occurs especially as a constituent of RNA while deoxyribonucleotide refers to a nucleotide that contains deoxyribose and is a constituent of DNA.

2’ OH in the Pentose Sugar

Also, the pentose sugar of the ribonucleotide contains an OH group at 2’ position while the pentose sugar of the deoxyribonucleotide does not contain an OH group at its 2’ position. This is one main difference between ribonucleotide and deoxyribonucleotide.

Triphosphate Types

The types of ribonucleotides are AMP, GMP, CMP, UMP, m5UMP, IMP, and XMP while the five types of deoxyribonucleotides are dAMP, dGMP, dTMP, dUMP, dCMP, dIMP, and dXMP.

Nitrogenous Bases occur in Nucleic Acids

Adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil are the nitrogenous bases that occur in RNA while adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine are the nitrogenous bases that occur in DNA.

Role in Splicing

Ribonucleotides allow splicing while deoxyribonucleotides do not allow splicing. This is another important difference between ribonucleotide and deoxyribonucleotide.

Modifications

Modified bases occur in RNA more frequently while methylated bases occur in DNA.

Conclusion

Ribonucleotide is the precursor of RNA and it contains ribose sugar. It plays a key role in the cell as a second messenger and involves in metabolism. On the other hand, deoxyribonucleotide is the precursor of DNA, and it contains deoxyribose sugar. DNA plays a vital role in the cell as the main form of hereditary material. The main difference between ribonucleotide and deoxyribonucleotide is the structure and the role.

Reference:

1. “Ribonucleotide.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Aug. 2018, Available Here
2. Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L. Biochemistry. 5th edition. New York: W H Freeman; 2002. Section 25.3, Deoxyribonucleotides Synthesized by the Reduction of Ribonucleotides Through a Radical Mechanism. Available Here

Image Courtesy:

1. “Ribonucleotide General” By Binhtruong – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia  
2. “228 Nucleotides-01″ By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. http://cnx.org/content/col11496/1.6/, Jun 19, 2013. (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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