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Nucleotide and Nucleoside Comparison

A nucleotide is composed of three components, namely a nitrogenous base, phosphate group, and sugar. A nucleoside is composed of two components, namely a nitrogenous base and sugar. This is the basic difference between a nucleotide and a nucleoside. Before understanding the various differences between nucleotide and nucleoside, let’s have a basic introduction about the same.

Nucleotide & Nucleoside

As said earlier, a nucleotide is composed of a nitrogenous base, phosphate group, and sugar. All nucleotides come together to form the human DNA. A nucleotide is the building block of DNA. A nucleoside is the basic component of a nucleotide. A nucleoside combines with a phosphate group and gives rise to a nucleotide.
Let’s understand the mechanism of nucleotide formation.

  • A nitrogenous base forms an N-glycosidic linkage with the pentose sugar molecule. This complex structure consisting of a nitrogenous base and sugar is called nucleoside.
  • The nucleoside (base + sugar) combines with a phosphate group to form the nucleotide. A phosphate group is attached to the 5`-OH of the nucleoside with the help of a phosphodiester linkage. Therefore, a nucleotide is formed from a nucleoside.

Nitrogenous base + Sugar → Nucleoside Nucleoside + Phosphate Group → Nucleotide (or) Nitrogenous base + Sugar + Phosphate Group → Nucleotide It is thus concluded that a nucleotide is formed from nucleoside.

Components of nucleotide & nucleoside

A nucleotide consists of a nitrogenous base, sugar, and phosphate group, whereas a nucleoside lacks the phosphate group. Let’s understand these three components involved in nucleotide & nucleoside formation.

Nitrogenous base

  • Nitrogenous bases are classified into two categories - Purines and Pyrimidines.
  • The two purine molecules are Adenine and Guanine.
  • The three pyrimidine molecules are Cytosine, Uracil, and Thymine. Cytosine base is found in both RNA and DNA. Uracil is seen only in RNA, and Thymine is seen only in DNA.

Pentose sugar

  • The two types of sugars are Ribose and Deoxyribose.
  • Ribose sugar is specific to RNA, whereas Deoxyribose sugar is specific to DNA.
  • The combination of nitrogenous base and pentose sugar is called nucleoside.
  • The nitrogenous base is linked to pentose sugar via N-glycosidic linkage.
  • The various types of RNA nucleosides are given below.
    Adenine + Ribose = Adenosine
    Guanine + Ribose = Guanosine
    Cytosine + Ribose = Cytidine
    Uracil + Ribose = Uridine
  • The various types of DNA nucleotides are given below.
    Adenine + Deoxy ribose = Deoxy adenosine
    Guanine + Deoxy ribose = Deoxy guanosine
    Cytosine + Deoxy ribose = Deoxy cytidine
    Thymine + Deoxy ribose = Deoxy thymidine

Pentose sugar

  • The addition of a phosphate group to a nucleoside gives rise to a nucleotide.
  • This phosphate group is usually derived from the hydrolysis of ATP. The ATP undergoes hydrolysis to give rise to an ADP and phosphate ion. This phosphate ion is utilized for the formation of nucleotides.
  • The phosphate group is added to the 5`-OH of the nucleoside with the help of a phosphodiester linkage.
  • The various types of RNA nucleotides are given below.
    Adenosine + Phosphate group = Adenine nucleotide
    Examples: AMP, ADP, and ATP
    Guanosine + Phosphate group = Guanine nucleotide
    Examples: GMP, GDP, and GTP
    Cytidine + Phosphate group = Cytosine nucleotide
    Examples: CMP, CDP, and CTP
    Uridine + Phosphate group = Uracil nucleotide
    Examples: UMP, UDP, and UTP
  • The various types of DNA nucleotides are given below.
    Deoxy Adenosine + Phosphate group = Adenice deoxynucleotide
    Examples: dAMP, dADP, and dATP.
    Deoxy Guanosine + Phosphate group = Guanine deoxynucleotide
    Examples: dGMP, dGDP, and DGTP.
    Deoxy Cytidine + Phosphate group = Cytosine deoxynucleotide
    Examples: dCMP, dCDP, and dCTP.
    Deoxy Thymidine + Phosphate group = Thymine deoxynucleotide
    Examples: dTMP, dTDP, and dTTP.

Differences between nucleotide and nucleoside 

Nucleotide 

Nucleoside

A nucleotide consists of three components. 

A nucleoside consists of two components. 

The components of a nucleotide are: 

-Nitrogenous Base 

-Pentose sugar 

-Phosphate group 

The components of a nucleoside are: 

-Nitrogenous base 

-Pentose sugar 

The nucleotide is the building block of RNA and DNA. 

The nucleoside is the building block of nucleotides. The addition of a phosphate group to a nucleoside leads to the formation of a respective nucleotide. 

The malfunctioning of nucleotides or alteration of nitrogenous bases in the nucleotide causes cancer. 

Nucleosides are used for the synthesis of medicinal agents. They are mostly used for the synthesis of antiviral and anti-cancer drugs. 

Examples of RNA Nucleotide: 

- Adenosine + Phosphate group = Adenine nucleotide 

- Guanosine + Phosphate group = Guanine nucleotide 

- Cytidine + Phosphate group = Cytosine nucleotide 

- Uridine + Phosphate group = Uracil nucleotide 

Examples of RNA Nucleoside: 

- Adenine + Ribose = Adenosine 

- Guanine + Ribose = Guanosine 

- Cytosine + Ribose = Cytidine 

- Uracil + Ribose = Uridine 

Examples of DNA nucleotide: 

- Deoxy Adenosine + Phosphate group = Adenice deoxynucleotide 

- Deoxy Deoxy Guanosine + Phosphate group = Guanine deoxynucleotide 

- Deoxy Cytidine + Phosphate group = Cytosine deoxynucleotide 

- Deoxy Thymidine + Phosphate group = Thymine deoxynucleotide 

Examples of DNA Nucleoside: 

- Adenine + Deoxy ribose = Deoxy adenosine 

- Guanine + Deoxy ribose = Deoxy guanosine 

- Cytosine + Deoxy ribose = Deoxy cytidine 

- Thymine + Deoxy ribose = Deoxy thymidine 

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