The Role of Hydrogen Bonding in the Structure and Function of the Nucleic Acids

  • George A. Jeffrey
  • Wolfram Saenger


In the form of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the macromolecular nucleic acids are of prime importance in biology because they carry the building plan for each living individual. They are identically reduplicated and inherited from one generation to the next, be it bacterium, plant, animal, or man. The information about every feature of and about every molecule contained in a living being is encoded in the nucleotide sequence of its DNA, which is read out and translated into the amino acid sequences of its proteins. In the many different steps involved in this protein biosynthesis, information transfer takes place which would be impossible without the weak hydrogen bonds. Because they can easily and rapidly be formed and broken, they are ideally suited for these dynamic processes which are so important for life.


Double Helix Minor Groove Major Groove Helix Axis Mismatch Base Pair 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • George A. Jeffrey
    • 1
  • Wolfram Saenger
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of CrystallographyThe University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Institut für KristallographieFreie Universität BerlinGermany

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