Dictionary > Nick

Nick

Definition
noun, plural: nicks
(molecular biology) A cut or a notch in a DNA molecule due to a break in one phosphodiester bond between adjacent nucleotides of one of the two strands, often caused by an enzymatic action
(general) A small cut, dent, chip, notch, or groove
verb
To make a small cut, notch, dent, groove, or chip
Supplement
The term nick in general usage refers to a small cut, dent, chip, notch, or groove. In molecular biology, a nick is a notch or a dent in the double-stranded DNA molecule. The nick is due to the loss of one phosphodiester bond between adjacent nucleotides of one of the two strands. This is often caused by the action of a particular enzyme.
A nick forms to allow the release of torsion in the DNA strand. For instance, a plasmid that is tightly wound into a negative supercoil needs to release the torsional energy through nick formation. This causes the negative supercoil to unwind gradually until it forms into a circular shape.1
A nick may also form as a result of DNA damage. Nicking DNA may also be initiated purposely, i.e. by physical shearing, over-drying of DNA, or by administering certain enzymes (e.g. nicking endonucleases).
Ligases can repair DNA nicks by joining the 3′ hydroxyl and 5′ phosphate ends to form a phosphodiester bond.
Related term(s):

  • Nick translation

Reference(s):

1 Chao, J., Zhang, L., and Wang, P. (2015). “Configuration Transitions of Free Circular DNA System Induced by Nicks”. Journal of Nanomaterials. doi:10.1155/2015/546851


You will also like...

A sperm cell fertilizing an ovum
Human Reproduction and Fertilization

For human species to obviate extinction, reproductive mature adults should be producing viable offspring in order to con..

Adaptive Radiation
Adaptive Radiation

The diversification of several new species from a recent ancestral source, each adapted to utilize or occupy a vacant ad..

Biological Cell Defense
Biological Cell Defense

Organisms employ different strategies to boost its defenses against antigens. Humans have an immune system to combat pat..

Gene Regulation in Eukaryotes
Gene Regulation in Eukaryotes

Learn about the general structure of a eukaryotic gene, the transcription factors, and post-transcriptional regulation....

Endemic Flora of New Zealand
New Zealand’s Unique Flora

If New Zealand has lots of unique animals, it's also got a whole lot of unique plants. Find out more about some of them,..

Pollution in Freshwater Ecosystems
Pollution in Freshwater Ecosystems

There are many environmental factors that arise due to the usage of water in one way or another and for every action tha..

Related Articles...

No related articles found

See all Related Topics