Transcription and Translation
Although DNAAbbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid; the polymer of nucleotides that constitutes the genetic material of chromosomes. contains the necessary instructions for synthesizing all the proteins necessary for the functioning of a cell, it does not take part directly in the synthesisFormation of substances with more complicated sturctures than do their precursors. itself. Sections of the DNA chain are first copied into a type of RNAAbbreviation for ribonucleic acid; a biological polymer of nucleotides that is involved in protein synthesis. called messenger RNAThe RNA that conveys information from the genetic code on DNA to a ribosome where transfer RNA attaches the correct amino acid to a growing protein; abbreviated mRNA., mRNAAbbreviation for messenger RNA; the RNA that conveys information from the genetic code on DNA to a ribosome where transfer RNA attaches the correct amino acid to a growing protein.. This process is known as transcription. In transcription, RNA polymerase opens up DNA and uses the baseIn Arrhenius theory, a substance that increases the concentration of hydroxide ions in an aqueous solution. In Bronsted-Lowry theory, a hydrogen-ion (proton) acceptor. In Lewis theory, a species that donates a pair of electrons to form a covalent bond. pair sequence of one of the DNA strands to synthesis a moleculeA set of atoms joined by covalent bonds and having no net charge. of mRNA which is complementary to the template strand. The other strand is referred to as the coding strand, as it has the same sequence as the mRNA molecule formed. The synthesis of mRNA is governed by promoter sequences in the DNA, as well as binding of protein factors that can either promote or repress transcription. Such control is necessary for a cell produce the correct proteins at the correct time.
The mRNA molecules differ from DNA in three ways:
1 RNA is generally found in a single strand form, instead of the double helix structure of DNA.
2 RNA has a hydroxyl groupThe functional group of an oxygen atom bonded to an hydrogen atom, -OH; found in alcohols. () at the 2' carbon, wheras DNA simply has a hydrogen.
3 The base uracil (U) replaces thymine (T).
All three differences are displayed in Fig 1. Another aspect of mRNA molecules is that they are also considerably smaller than DNA, containing the blueprints for only a few proteins at most.
As the name implies, mRNA molecules are used to transport their coded instructions from the nucleusThe collection of protons and neutrons at the center of an atom that contains nearly all of the atoms's mass. of the cell, where the DNA is situated, to the ribosomes, where the process of protein synthesis actually takes place.
When an mRNA molecule reaches a ribosome, a process called translation takes place in which the base sequence on the mRNA molecule is used to create a protein using the codon code. In translation, each codon on the mRNA base pairs with an anticodon base sequence on a RNA molecule called transfer RNAThe RNA that brings the correct amino acid to a ribosome where it is attached to a growing protein, abbreviated tRNA., tRNAAbbreviation for transfer RNA; the RNA that brings the correct amino acid to a ribosome where it is attached to a growing protein.. Each tRNA molecule is bound to the amino acidA carboxylic acid containing an amino group (-NH2). In an alpha amino acid, the amino group is attached to the carbon atom adjacent to the carboxyl group.. Thus, the codon UUA will pair with the anticodon of the tRNA bound to leucine. The synthesis of the protein itself is performed by the ribosome, which is a protein-RNA complexA central metal and the ligands surrounding it; also called coordination complex., but unlike other enzymes, the catalytic activity is provided by the RNA portion, not the protein. The ribosome is thus sometimes referred to as a ribozyme, to distinguish it from the usual concept of any enzyme with protein based catalytic activity. Figure 2 presents this process as a cartoon.
In the cartoon, the brown structure represents the ribosome, the blue letters represent mRNA and its base sequence, the colored hooks represent tRNAs, and amino acids are represented by their three letter abbreviations. mRNA binds into the ribosome, which finds a start codon at which to begin translating. This begins with Methionine, which is bound to the tRNA which recognizes the AUG codon. The next tRNA enters in at the A site. The ribosome catalyzes the condensation reactionA chemical reaction in which two molecules combine to form a very small molecule and a larger molecule than either of the two reactants. An example is formation of an ester from a carboxylic acid and an alcohol. between the carboxylThe functional group consisting of a carbon atom bonded to a hydroxyl group and doubly bonded to an oxygen atom; found in carboxylic acids: -C(=O)OH. end of methionine and the amino end of glutamate. The dipeptide is now bound to the tRNA in the A site. The tRNA for methionine shifts to the exit site and leaves the complex, while the dipeptide and bound tRNA move to the P site. The next activated tRNA, meaning the tRNA has an amino acid bound to it, enters the A site, and the process repeats until a stop codon is reached.