<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Learning objectives

  • Describe the biochemical structure of ribonucleotides
  • Describe the similarities and differences between RNA and DNA
  • Describe the functions of the three main types of RNA used in protein synthesis
  • Explain how RNA can serve as hereditary information

Structurally speaking, ribonucleic acid (RNA) , is quite similar to DNA. However, whereas DNA molecules are typically long and double stranded, RNA molecules are much shorter and are typically single stranded. RNA molecules perform a variety of roles in the cell but are mainly involved in the process of protein synthesis ( translation ) and its regulation.

Rna structure

RNA is typically single stranded and is made of ribonucleotides that are linked by phosphodiester bonds. A ribonucleotide in the RNA chain contains ribose (the pentose sugar), one of the four nitrogenous bases (A, U, G, and C), and a phosphate group. The subtle structural difference between the sugars gives DNA added stability, making DNA more suitable for storage of genetic information, whereas the relative instability of RNA makes it more suitable for its more short-term functions. The RNA-specific pyrimidine uracil forms a complementary base pair with adenine and is used instead of the thymine used in DNA. Even though RNA is single stranded, most types of RNA molecules show extensive intramolecular base pairing between complementary sequences within the RNA strand, creating a predictable three-dimensional structure essential for their function ( [link] and [link] ).

a) diagrams of ribose (in RNA) and deoxyribose (in DNA). Both have a pentagon shape with Oxygen at the top point of the pentagon. Both have an OH at carbon 1 and 3 and a CH2OH at carbon 4 (this last carbon is carbon 5). The difference is that ribose has an OH at carbon 2 and deoxyribose has an H at carbon 2. B) diagrams of thymine (T in DNA) and Uracil (U in RNA). Both have a single hexagon ring containing carbons and nitrogens. Both have a double bound O at the top carbon, and the bottom left carbon. The difference is that the top right carbon has an H in uracil and a CH3 in thymine.
(a) Ribonucleotides contain the pentose sugar ribose instead of the deoxyribose found in deoxyribonucleotides. (b) RNA contains the pyrimidine uracil in place of thymine found in DNA.
a) A diagram of DNA and RNA. DNA has the double helix shape with the helix of sugar-phosphates on the outside and the base pairs on the inside. RNA has a single helix of sugar-phosphates with nitrogenous bases along the length of the helix. B) A diagram showing RNA folding upon itself. The bases attached to the sugar-phosphate backbone can form hydrogen bonds if there are stretches of complimentary bases at some distance from each other on the long strand. Other regions do not have these hydrogen bonds.
(a) DNA is typically double stranded, whereas RNA is typically single stranded. (b) Although it is single stranded, RNA can fold upon itself, with the folds stabilized by short areas of complementary base pairing within the molecule, forming a three-dimensional structure.
  • How does the structure of RNA differ from the structure of DNA?

Functions of rna in protein synthesis

Cells access the information stored in DNA by creating RNA to direct the synthesis of proteins through the process of translation . Proteins within a cell have many functions, including building cellular structures and serving as enzyme catalysts for cellular chemical reactions that give cells their specific characteristics. The three main types of RNA directly involved in protein synthesis are messenger RNA (mRNA) , ribosomal RNA (rRNA) , and transfer RNA (tRNA) .

In 1961, French scientists François Jacob and Jacques Monod hypothesized the existence of an intermediary between DNA and its protein products, which they called messenger RNA. A. Rich. “The Era of RNA Awakening: Structural Biology of RNA in the Early Years.” Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics 42 no. 2 (2009):117–137. Evidence supporting their hypothesis was gathered soon afterwards showing that information from DNA is transmitted to the ribosome for protein synthesis using mRNA. If DNA serves as the complete library of cellular information, mRNA serves as a photocopy of specific information needed at a particular point in time that serves as the instructions to make a protein.

Questions & Answers

can you please differentiate between vacuoles and inclusion bodies
Noor Reply
vacuoles consists of watery solution called cell sap while bodies are organelles
5 difference please
Archaea is an odd type of bacteria that live in extreme environments; high salt, high temperature etc. usually called extremophiles.
Danesia Reply
you know anyone that has delt with enterobacter agglomerans.
it is a type of gram negative bacteria and its ubiquitous mostly isolated from plant stuffs and also from faecal material of animals. I heard the name pantoea . it is bacillus in structure.
What are the classification of microorganisms
Portia Reply
Basic classification are eukaryotic and prokaryotic..
micro organisms are classified into three namely: Archaea, eukaryote and prokaryotic organisms
Yay that's right
what is archaea
I've got an issue with the message view
Frank Reply
Is there any effective way to learn microbiology.
Frank Reply
I have some basic knowledge of biology. I mean i'm totally beginner in that field.
Assuming that i'm interested in neuroscience. What is the best way to master that particular subject.
Can you wait me just a minute
Iam apologies for guidance you in neuroscience.. I'm not physician.. I'm microbiologist
My pleasure to join to you
Let's begin a conversation
Frank Reply
What would be saying
do you know anything about microbiology
I have so much studying to catch up on🙄
any study tips
Yas of course
What would you like to know
well i'm studying Pharmacy second year and i just started With Microbiology
if you have any basics to tell us 🤷🏻‍♀️ would be helpful
Yas, first you must know that you will have a very easy lecture..
In second stage you will try to learn the type of microbiology
A simple definition for microbiology
In second stage you will try to learn the type of microbiology.. you must learn the bacteria..its structure.. Classification of bacteria according to shape..
It's so easy
What triggers the natural killer cells
jenipher Reply
microbiology is the study of science which deals with study of microorganism e.g .virus,bacteria
sufian Reply
microbiology is a branch of science that deals with invisible microorganisms.
microbiology is the branch of science which deals with the study of organisms too small to be seen with the naked eye
what is microbiology
Safwan Reply
history of microbiology
give all details about cell
Samim Reply
Give me another names for all hypersensitivity
Don Reply
Give me the modern father of microbiology
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek
Louis pasteur is father of modern microbiology Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is only the father of microbiology
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first person to observe the mos. whereas pasteur is the one who described about the vaccine , pasteurization etc.
what is the virulence factor
mukhtar Reply
is the abilityof pathogen that cause disease
classification of bacteria
Divya Reply
are classified into 5 as follow 1= bacilli 2= vibro 3= spirilla 4= cocci 5= spirochaetes.
this one is on the basis of morphological structure
gram positive and gram negative according to gram staining
u can find on the basis of temperature resistance and oxygen tolerance
on basis of oxygen requirement they could be categorized as Aerobic anaerobic facultative aerobes microaerophilic
bacteria are classified into the three type according to their shape 1.Round cocci 2.Rod bacilli 3. spiral
sorry to say but for microbes there is no facultative aerobes instead it must b facultative anaerobic and obligatory anaerobic, aerotolerant
Which ones are the microaerophilic
what is the difference between krebs cycle and calvin cycle
Baye Reply

Get the best Microbiology course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Microbiology' conversation and receive update notifications?