1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Hydrogen bonding in Cytosine and Guanine

  1. Aug 23, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    The problem was to tell how many hydrogen bonds there are between cytosine and guanine. and I know there are three. http://study.com/cimages/multimages/16/Cytosine_Guanine_base_pair.png
    But I think I might be misunderstanding the hydrogen bond concept.
    I thought that hydrogen bonds only formed between O, F and N when they are also bond to H atom. And therefor CO2 fx does not form hydrogen bond with water as the oxygen atoms in the CO2 are not bonded to H atom.
    In the cytosine-Guanine there is a hydrogen bond between Oxygen atom and NH2 but the Oxygen atom is only bond to Carbon, so why is there a hydrogen bond?
    And N makes hydrogen bond with NH but the N is only bond to two C atoms
    please explain.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2017 Award

    Oxygen, fluorine or nitrogen atoms with available lone pairs can usually serve a hydrogen bond acceptor, and any hydrogen bonded to an F, O, or N can serve as a hydrogen bond donor. CO2 lack hydrogens, so it cannot serve as a hydrogen bond donor. Although it has free lone pairs on its oxygens, CO2 does not serve as a hydrogen bond acceptor because the molecule is not polar. The molecule is linear, so the dipoles from the two C=O bonds cancel each other out, and the molecule carries no net dipole (although, I'm not sure this explanation is entirely correct, because some sources I've found do suggest that carbon dioxide is capable of forming hydrogen bonds). Nevertheless, in guanine and cytosine, the oxygen atoms do carry a net dipole moment and can act as hydrogen bond acceptors.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted