Why 5'->3' and not 3'->5' ?

hines at socrates.ucsf.edu hines at socrates.ucsf.edu
Fri Mar 27 22:02:51 EST 1998

On 27 Mar 1998 20:08:14 -0500, mcmahan at oncology.wisc.edu (Scott McMahan) wrote:
> In article <slrn6hm0r0.b70.adhar at elaine44.Stanford.EDU>,
> adhar at stanford.edu.XX (Adam Noel Harris) wrote:

> :Yes, but why is the triphosphate group not off the 3' end? :)

> I wish I knew.  I'm sure it is somewhat related to the fact that chemistry
> is not random, but I can't say why it would be favored off the 5' end and
> not the 3' end.  Does anyone know?

Know is the wrong term.

I would suggest that thee hi thee ho to the pentose
phosphate pathway and pay attention to the product
of 6-Phosphogluconate and its dehydrogenase (which
sits two steps off of glucose 6 phosphate.

Also consider the reactivity of vic diols as in the
2 and 3 prime hydroxyls of ribose. 

I won't pretend to be able to explain it well, but
the raw data is there and you can either interpret
it as I do, or perhaps favor more or less agressive

The problem with chemistry is that it's 95% effective
as a rationalization tool but in my neurons much less
effective at predictions. In this respect, perhaps the
inorganic synthesis of ribose could give an even better
clue than that offered by catabolic echoes.

deaddog could likely give a strong answer. If you are
evil you could email him the question and ask him to
post an answer though this is perhaps akin to offering
a recovering alcoholic a rare single malt.

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