DNA Replication
DNA Replication
DNA Replication Models
DNA Double Helix
Steps of DNA Replication
Speed of DNA Replication
Enzymes of DNA Replication
Paternity Testing
Swine Flu

Steps of DNA Replication

The next we have to do is to shed light into the mystery of the steps of DNA Replicationof the Eykaryotes.

1)The first major step for the DNA Replication to take place is the breaking of hydrogen bonds between bases of the two antiparallel strands. The unwounding of the two strands is the starting point. The splitting happens in places of the chains which are rich in A-T. That is because there are only two bonds between Adenine and Thymine (there are three hydrogen bonds between Cytosine and Guanine). Helicase is the enzyme that splits the two strands. The initiation point where the splitting starts is called "origin of replication".The structure that is created is known as "Replication Fork".

Breaking of hydrogen bonds between bases

2) One of the most important steps of DNA Replication is the binding of RNA Primase in the the initiation point of the 3'-5' parent chain. RNA Primase can attract RNA nucleotides which bind to the DNA nucleotides of the 3'-5' strand due to the hydrogen bonds between the bases. RNA nucleotides are the primers (starters) for the binding of DNA nucleotides.

Binding of RNA Primase

3) The elongation process is different for the 5'-3' and 3'-5' template. a)5'-3' Template: The 3'-5' proceeding daughter strand -that uses a 5'-3' template- is called leading strand because DNA Polymerase can "read" the template and continuously adds nucleotides (complementary to the nucleotides of the template, for example Adenine opposite to Thymine etc).

Elongation Process

b)3'-5'Template: The 3'-5' template cannot be "read" by DNA Polymerase . The replication of this template is complicated and the new strand is called lagging strand. In the lagging strand the RNA Primase adds more RNA Primers. DNA polymerase reads the template and lengthens the bursts. The gap between two RNA primers is called "Okazaki Fragments".

The RNA Primers are necessary for DNA Polymerase to bind Nucleotides to the 3' end of them. The daughter strand is elongated with the binding of more DNA nucleotides.

DNA Pol I - exonuclease

4) In the lagging strand the DNA Pol I -exonuclease- reads the fragments and removes the RNA Primers. The gaps are closed with the action of DNA Polymerase (adds complementary nucleotides to the gaps) and DNA Ligase (adds phosphate in the remaining gaps of the phosphate - sugar backbone).

Each new double helix is consisted of one old and one new chain. This is what we call semiconservative replication.

Termination: Last step of DNA Replication

5) The last step of DNA Replication is the Termination. This process happens when the DNA Polymerase reaches to an end of the strands. We can easily understand that in the last section of the lagging strand, when the RNA primer is removed, it is not possible for the DNA Polymerase to seal the gap (because there is no primer). So, the end of the parental strand where the last primer binds isn't replicated. These ends of linear (chromosomal) DNA consists of noncoding DNA that contains repeat sequences and are called telomeres. As a result, a part of the telomere is removed in every cycle of DNA Replication.

6) The DNA Replication is not completed before a mechanism of repair fixes possible errors caused during the replication. Enzymes like nucleases remove the wrong nucleotides and the DNA Polymerase fills the gaps.

mechanism of repair

Similar processes also happen during the steps of DNA Replication of prokaryotes though there are some differences.

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