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Learning objectives

  • Explain how RNA is synthesized using DNA as a template
  • Distinguish between transcription in prokaryotes and eukaryotes

During the process of transcription , the information encoded within the DNA sequence of one or more genes is transcribed into a strand of RNA, also called an RNA transcript . The resulting single-stranded RNA molecule, composed of ribonucleotides containing the bases adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and uracil (U), acts as a mobile molecular copy of the original DNA sequence. Transcription in prokaryotes and in eukaryotes requires the DNA double helix to partially unwind in the region of RNA synthesis. The unwound region is called a transcription bubble . Transcription of a particular gene always proceeds from one of the two DNA strands that acts as a template, the so-called antisense strand . The RNA product is complementary to the template strand of DNA and is almost identical to the nontemplate DNA strand, or the sense strand . The only difference is that in RNA, all of the T nucleotides are replaced with U nucleotides; during RNA synthesis, U is incorporated when there is an A in the complementary antisense strand.

Transcription in bacteria

Bacteria use the same RNA polymerase to transcribe all of their genes. Like DNA polymerase, RNA polymerase adds nucleotides one by one to the 3’-OH group of the growing nucleotide chain. One critical difference in activity between DNA polymerase and RNA polymerase is the requirement for a 3’-OH onto which to add nucleotides: DNA polymerase requires such a 3’-OH group, thus necessitating a primer, whereas RNA polymerase does not. During transcription, a ribonucleotide complementary to the DNA template strand is added to the growing RNA strand and a covalent phosphodiester bond is formed by dehydration synthesis between the new nucleotide and the last one added. In E. coli , RNA polymerase comprises six polypeptide subunits, five of which compose the polymerase core enzyme responsible for adding RNA nucleotides to a growing strand. The sixth subunit is known as sigma (σ). The σ factor enables RNA polymerase to bind to a specific promoter, thus allowing for the transcription of various genes. There are various σ factors that allow for transcription of various genes.


The initiation of transcription begins at a promoter , a DNA sequence onto which the transcription machinery binds and initiates transcription. The nucleotide pair in the DNA double helix that corresponds to the site from which the first 5’ RNA nucleotide is transcribed is the initiation site. Nucleotides preceding the initiation site are designated “upstream,” whereas nucleotides following the initiation site are called “downstream” nucleotides. In most cases, promoters are located just upstream of the genes they regulate. Although promoter sequences vary among bacterial genomes, a few elements are conserved. At the –10 and –35 positions within the DNA prior to the initiation site (designated +1), there are two promoter consensus sequences, or regions that are similar across all promoters and across various bacterial species. The –10 consensus sequence, called the TATA box , is TATAAT. The –35 sequence is recognized and bound by σ.

Questions & Answers

characteristic of Gram negative bacteria
jane Reply
Characteristics of Gram Negative Bacteria As with Gram positive bacteria, Gram negative bacteria also contain the peptidoglycan polymer in their cell wall. While this polymer is thin (2 to 4 nanometers in thickness with just about 3 layers of peptidoglycan) in Gram negative bacteria, it's also com
it's also composed of long glycan strands that are cross-linked by peptide molecules. This composition serves a number of functions including protecting the bacterial cell from lysis
Good shot
Thanks 😊
what was Hans Christian Gram's supported in the modern Microbiology?
Wilson Reply
what is microbial growth
Chisa Reply
The organism responsible for vulva ulcers
nyiter Reply
Why are vascular pathogen poorly communicable from person to person?
Aj Reply
Most vascular pathogens are poorly communicable from person to person because they need a medium to be communicated i,e a vector that would carry them from one person to other
what's the habit of protista
Afieahngwi Reply
They show both autotrophic and heterotrophic mechanisms...
let me mention some water. Air .Food and so on
Gattiek Reply
causes of infectious diseases
Afieahngwi Reply
infectious disease are caused by pathogenic micro organisms like bacteria ,fungi..
What is pasteurization?
are fungi prokaryote or eukaryotes?
Afieahngwi Reply
fungi are eukaryotes.
All fungi are eukaryotes. Even micro fungi.
have..complex cellular organization and membrane bound nucleus ...and..also... having loops of DNA( like plasmids) as.bacteria
what enzyme replaces rna nucleotides with dna nucleotides during replication?
Remi Reply
an enzyme called DNA ligase.
describe the acid fast staining procedure used in the diagnosis of tuberculosis
Salma Reply
bacterial morphology
lf_ Reply
what is the difference between biogenesis & abiogenesis
Mayuri Reply
biogenesis is when living comes out from other living things as a result of reproduction while a biogenesis is the process where living things comes out from non living things
living things come form other form living things is biogenesis. ....right?
what is mean by pasturation method?
Mayuri Reply
Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria and creates an extended shelf life for your milk. ... It's pretty simple—we take the milk from the cows, we rapidly heat it to a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria, and then we cool it back down before packaging and shipping it to you
tell me about abiogenessis &biogenesis
discribe aristol spontaneous generation theory in brif
Mayuri Reply
The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BC) was one of the earliest recorded scholars to articulate the theory of spontaneous generation, the notion that life can arise from nonliving matter. Aristotle proposed that life arose from nonliving material if the material contained pneuma (“vital heat”).
thank you 😊
No mention dear 😊

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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