Difference between nucleotide and nucleoside

Difference between nucleotide and nucleoside

Nucleotides are the building blocks of DNA and RNA. Nucleosides are its precursors. The assembly of a nucleoside with a phosphate group results in the formation of a nucleotide and further covalent binding with several other nucleotides, a DNA or RNA molecule.

What is a nucleoside?

A nucleoside is the assembly of a nitrogenous base with a sugar, ribose in RNA and deoxyribose in DNA. The classic nucleosides are adenosine, thymidine, cytidine, guanosine or even uridine.

Nucleoside = Sugar + Nitrogenous Base

Nucleoside = Sugar + Nitrogenous Base
Nucleosides are glycosylamines that can be thought of as nucleotides without a phosphate group.

What is a nucleotide?

A nucleotide corresponds to the product of the bond between a nucleoside and a phosphate group. Common nucleotides are adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine or even uracil.

Nucleotide = Nucleoside + Phosphate


Nucleotide = Sugar + Nitrogenous Base + Phosphate

Nucleotide = Sugar + Nitrogenous Base + Phosphate

Nucleotides therefore differ from nucleosides by the presence of a phosphate group in their structure. In addition, the name of the molecule varies between nucleotides and nucleosides.

Read Also: ADP Biology Definition And Explanations

Nucleoside vs Nucleotide

Comparison items Nucleoside Nucleotide
Definition Nucleoside = Sugar + Nitrogenous Base
A nucleoside consists of covalent combination of ribose, in RNA and deoxyribose in DNA, and nitrogenous base.
Nucleotide = Sugar + Nitrogenous Base + Phosphate
A nucleotide contains a nucleoside (sugar and nitrogenous base) and phosphate group
FunctionsNucleosides are responsible for expressing and transferring genetic information+ Genetic data storage
+ Energy currency for cells in the form of ATP
+ Functions as coenzymes and regulatory chemicals
Examples+ Thymidine, Uridine and cytidine
+ Guanosine and adenosine
+ Adenosine Monophosphate (AMP)
+ Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP
+ Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)

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