rRNA, tRNA and mRNA

Your Cells contain a vast amount of cells that each have blueprints in them with instructions for creating Proteins necessary to maintain Homeostasis. Your body undergoes multiple biochemical and physiological pathways each day in order for you to live life without any complications. Proteins mediate these biochemical reactions. 

rRNA, tRNA and mRNA rRNA, tRNA and mRNA

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Table of contents

    Proteins are the body's currency, they mediate all bodily functions and help to maintain Cells. Each cell contains DNA which is the blueprint for creating Proteins. Proteins are created from DNA during a process known as Gene Expression. RNA plays crucial steps in gene expression. In the following, we will look into rRNA, tRNA, and mRNA and their functions in Gene Expression!

    rRNA, tRNA, and mRNA types

    As you are just learning about biology, you may often confuse DNA and RNA. So, let's take a look at their definitions.

    DNA stands for deoxyribose nucleic acid and is composed of a deoxyribose sugar, a phosphate group, and bases. The four bases found in DNA are adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine.

    Ribonucleic acid, also known as RNA, is a sequence of Nucleotides comprised of a ribose sugar, a phosphate group, and bases. In living organisms, there are four bases found in RNA: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil.

    Figure 1 showcases the differences between DNA and RNA. All RNA is derived from DNA during a process known as Transcription.

    Transcription: The process of synthesizing RNA from DNA. This is the first step in gene expression.

    Your DNA codes for many different types of RNA such as rRNA, tRNA, and mRNA.

    rRNA stands for ribosomal RNA. This type of RNA will eventually be converted into Ribosomes and accounts for 80% of the total RNA found in a given cell. Ribosomes are specialized proteins that work to convert mRNA into functional proteins during a process known as Translation.

    Like rRNA, tRNAs are very important for Translation. tRNA stands for transfer RNA, which exactly describes their function. These specialized tRNAs transfer amino acids during the translation of mRNA into proteins. Each of the 20 amino acids binds to a specific tRNA and is deposited onto the growing peptide chain.

    mRNA stands for messenger RNA. This type of RNA is made during transcription and holds the blueprint for a functional protein. mRNA is directly made from your Genes and creates proteins coded for by your DNA.

    Translation: The process of synthesizing amino acids from mRNA. This is the second step in gene expression.

    rRNA, tRNA, and mRNA transcription

    rRNA, tRNA, and mRNA are all synthesized during transcription. Transcription is the process of reading genetic codes in the form of DNA and transcribing it into RNA.

    As previously mentioned, transcription is the first step of gene expression. Prior to transcription, a series of events must occur in order to recruit the right proteins to the gene that needs to be transcribed. Specialized proteins that make transcription possible are called Transcription Factors.

    Transcription Factors travel to an area upstream of the gene known as the promoter region.

    The promoter region is a series of DNA base pairs that serve as the start site for transcription.

    As the promoter region becomes exposed, TFIID is the first transcription factor that binds to the promoter. TFIID stands for transcription factor II D.

    This means that it is the transcription factor associated with RNA polymerase II, which is the enzyme that facilitates transcription and actually makes the RNA transcript from the DNA strand. RNA polymerase II and the associated transcription factors are known as the preinitiation complex.

    Now let's discuss the series of events needed to form the preinitiation complex.

    • TFIID

    • TFIIA

    • TFIIB

    • TFIIF; with RNA pol2

    • TFIIE

    • TFIIH

    TFIIH is a very important transcription factor because it is functions to unzip the DNA molecule which exposes the DNA template strand. Once the template strand is unzipped, the preinitiation complex interacts with other transcription factors known as activators and repressors which dictate the rate of transcription.

    Activators serve to increase transcription rates while repressors decrease transcription rates. We will not discuss the in-depth mechanisms of activators or repressors as they are beyond the scope of this article. As the preinitiation complex interacts with an activator, it begins to transcribe the template strand. See figure 2 for a visualization of transcription.

    For the template DNA sequence GCC-TAT-ATG-ATT what is the given RNA sequence? Well, from the first section of the article we know that the possible bases in RNA are uracil, guanine, adenine, and cytosine.

    To synthesize the RNA sequence, you must first know the base pair rules: Adenine pairs with thymine and cytosine pairs with guanine. We know that the base thymine is replaced with uracil in RNA. So based on these rules we know that the complimentary RNA sequence is CGG-AUA-UAC-UAA.

    Once the template strand is synthesized, it goes through a series of post-transcriptional modifications such as 5' prime capping, 3' prime poly-A tail addition, and splicing.

    As RNA polymerase is transcribing RNA it does so from the 5' end to the 3' end and the 5' cap and poly-A tail are needed to stabilize the RNA molecule and prevent it from being degraded.

    Splicing is the process of removing the introns from RNA. Introns are the non-coding portion of RNA, while exons are the coding portion. This means that introns do not code for any amino acids, while exons do.

    Once the RNA is completely formed and processed it will be exported out of the nucleus and into the cytoplasm. In the case of rRNA, it will remain in the nucleus where it will be used for ribosome synthesis. tRNA and mRNA will be exported to the cytoplasm for translation to take place.

    Cytoplasm: the area of the cell outside the nucleus.

    rRNA, tRNA, and mRNA functions

    As previously mentioned, rRNAs come together to make up ribosomes which function to translate mRNA into functional proteins. tRNAs assist ribosomes during the translation process. Let's discuss the process of translation in further detail.

    Recall that translation is the process of synthesizing amino acids from mRNA. During translation, ribosomes match the bases of the mRNA in sets of three, called codons.

    Again the base pair rule comes into play during translation. tRNA molecules function to deposit the right codons on the growing amino acid sequence. When ribosomes reach a stop codon, it releases the fully formed amino acid sequence and the mRNA!

    rRNA, tRNA, and mRNA interaction

    rRNA, tRNA, and mRNA interact during translation. The steps in translation are as followed:

    1. The ribosome binds to the mRNA molecule

    2. The ribosome begins matching tRNA-bound codons to the mRNA molecule

    3. As new tRNA molecules bind to the ribosome, the tRNA-associated amino acid gets deposited onto the growing peptide chain

    4. This process continues until a stop codon on the mRNA is encountered

    5. Once a stop codon is reached, the ribosome releases the fully formed amino acid sequence

    6. The amino acid sequence is released and will be folded into a functional protein

    See figure 3 for a visual representation of translation.

    rRNA, tRNA, and mRNA differences

    Let's finish off by looking at the differences between rRNA, tRNA, and mRNA.

    rRNA, tRNA, and mRNA are all RNA molecules, but each has different functions. rRNAs make up ribosomes.

    Ribosomes have a large subunit known as 50S and a small subunit known as 30S. Each ribosomal subunit comprises its own rRNA sequence.

    Within the ribosome, there are two different types of rRNAs: small rRNAs and large rRNAs. These rRNAs make up the small and large subunits respectively.

    These specialized tRNAs transfer amino acids during the translation of mRNA into proteins. Each of the 20 amino acids binds to a specific tRNA and is deposited onto the growing peptide chain during translation.

    Lastly, mRNA houses the blueprint of your Genes that will be translated into functional proteins needed for cell signaling and overall metabolism.

    rRNA, tRNA and mRNA - Key takeaways

    • Ribonucleic acid also known as RNA is a sequence of Nucleotides comprised of a ribose sugar, a phosphate group, and bases.
    • rRNA stands for ribosomal RNA. This type of RNA will eventually be converted into ribosomes and accounts for 80% of the total RNA found in a given cell
    • In living organisms, there are four bases found in RNA: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil.
    • tRNAs are very important for translation. tRNA stands for transfer RNA which exactly describes their function. These specialized tRNAs transfer amino acids during the translation of mRNA into proteins.
    • mRNA houses the blueprint of your genes that will be translated into functional proteins required for cell signaling and overall metabolism.
    Frequently Asked Questions about rRNA, tRNA and mRNA

    What is the difference between rRNA tRNA and mRNA?

    rRNA is ribosomal RNA which means that it will be transcribed into ribosomes. tRNA is a specialized RNA that carries amino acids to the ribosomes during translation. mRNA is messenger RNA and is the transcript of a given gene. 

    Are mRNA tRNA and rRNA transcribed?


    Yes, these RNA molecules are transcribed. 

    How does mRNA tRNA and rRNA work together?


    These RNA sequences work together to regulate gene expression in the body. 

    What are the 3 types of RNA?

    mRNA, tRNA, and mRNA. 

    What is the role of tRNA and rRNA?

    rRNA is ribosomal RNA which means that it will be transcribed into ribosomes. tRNA is a specialized RNA that carries amino acids to the ribosomes during translation.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Ribonucleic acid also known as RNA is a sequence of nucleotides comprised of a ribose sugar, a phosphate group, and bases.

    There are four bases found in RNA: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and_____.

    The four bases found in DNA are adenine, guanine, cytosine, and _____.

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