Nucleotides crucial to cell regeneration

What is cell regeneration?

Our bodies are in a state of constant flux

Most people think of their body as a fairly permanent structure, however the majority of it is in a state of constant flux as old cells are discarded and replaced by new ones.

As cells age, they become damaged through every-day wear and tear and therefore need to “renew” themselves from time-to-time. Different cells renew themselves at different rates, and just like every-day objects, those that get used more frequently tend to get replaced more often.

The cells lining the stomach last only five days. Red blood cells last only 120 days or so on average after a bruising life spent travelling nearly 1,000 miles through the body’s circulatory system. Other tissues have turnover rates measured in years, not days, but are still far from permanent. Even the bones of the human skeleton are thought to be replaced every 10 years or so in adults.

 

Why are nucleotides crucial to cell regeneration?

The cell replication process explained

Before cells can divide or reproduce, they must make a copy of (replicate) the genetic information contained in their DNA. It is essential to the well-being of our bodies that this replication of genetic information is exact as any errors can result in a loss of immunity, disease or even genetic mutations.

To complete the complicated process of error-free DNA replication each cell needs access to, amongst other things, a pool of freely available, relevant nucleotide bases to build the copy from and a supply of RNA and various enzymes (nucleotide-containing molecules) to stimulate and provide energy for reactions.

During replication, the existing double helix structure uncoils, and at certain points (origins) along the pattern of nucleotide pairs it “unzips” itself lengthwise so that each side of the DNA strand is exposed at the middle (see figure 1).

While unzipped, the two complimentary halves of the nucleotide pattern are exposed so that any freely available nucleotides can be matched up, in their relevant pairs, to create two identical versions, each containing one half of the original genetic template.

The fact that these nucleotide bases can only pair up in certain combinations ensures that the two emerging strands of DNA are identical to the original template. The complicated process of cell division or reproduction can only now proceed unhindered.

NNNXL Cell replication process 1

figure 1: The existing double helix structure “unzips” itself lengthwise so that each side of the DNA strand is exposed. While unzipped, the two complimentary halves of the nucleotide pattern are exposed so that any freely available nucleotides can be matched up, in their relevant pairs, to create two identical versions, each containing one half of the original genetic template.

 

The importance of a balanced supply of nucleotides

Without a balanced pool of all five major nucleotides, stockpiled and ready-for-use, cellular replication could be delayed or put on hold indefinitely until the required nucleotide is produced or made available for use.

In future articles we will discuss the different ways in which the body can meet this demand for a balanced pool of all five major nucleotide bases.

 

NNNXL Cell replication process 2

figure 2: Without a balanced pool of all 5 major DNA & RNA nucleotide bases cellular reproduction could be slowed down, impaired or stopped indefinitely

This information is taken from our ground-breaking publication, “Putting you completely in the picture” – an introduction to nucleotides.