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DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid because it has phosphate groups in every one of it's nucleotides.

However, in aqueous solutions protons will ionize, leaving phosphates alone as negative groups, i.e., lewis bases.

In this case, which is seen in all of our cells, is DNA structure actually the conjugate base of the theoretically described crystal form of DNA?

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  • $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to Chemistry.SE. If you have any questions about the site, feel free to visit the help center. Best of luck with your interesting question! $\endgroup$ – airhuff Apr 27 '17 at 21:24
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    $\begingroup$ In nuclei DNA as coniugated base is bound to histons which work as coniugated acid. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Apr 27 '17 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ Related: Why are lactate and lactic acid used synonymously in biochemistry? $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Apr 27 '17 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ In a solution of Hydrochloric acid, almost all of $\ce{HCl}$ exists as $\ce{Cl-}$ which is a base. Would you call it Hydrochloric base instead? $\endgroup$ – Pritt Balagopal Apr 28 '17 at 4:30
  • $\begingroup$ By the way it's very related to pKa concept as I now understood it. DNA should be reduced to a bulk of phosphate groups for simplicity, of which the pKa value is ~3. Since we know that physiologic pH is ~7, ionized form of phosphate groups must have ten thousand times more concentration than the non-ionized form. That's how we know DNA is actually what makes the environment acidic. Otherwise I was thinking we might have very well defined DNA in it's ionized form, as DNB. But understanding why this would be wrong depends on understanding the pKa concept. So thanks @orthocresol. $\endgroup$ – m1clee Apr 28 '17 at 6:53

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