DNA Structure Activity
Problem 3: Grooves in the DNA double helix
Examine the view labeled "phosphate group location". DNA does not have smooth sides like a regular cylinder. Notice the grooves in the surface of the DNA molecule between the phosphate groups. Proteins that interact with DNA often make contact in these grooves. How would you describe the grooves in the DNA surface?
The sugar-phosphate backbones spiral around the outer surface of DNA. Between these backbones are two different sized grooves, designated the major and minor grooves. The major groove is approximately 50% wider than the minor. The view shown below is rotated to show the two different grooves in profile.
University of Arizona
Modified: May 27, 1997
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