Related topics: dna · genes · protein · gene expression · cells

How to construct a protein factory

Cells consist of a multitude of molecular structures, some of them exhibiting a staggering complexity. Ribosomes, the protein factories of the cell, belong to the biggest and most sophisticated complexes and are made up of ...

A matter of concentration

Plants can grow whole new organs with the help of pluripotent stem cells throughout their entire lives. When necessary, these stem cells can develop into any type of cell within an organism. The biologist Prof. Dr. Thomas ...

Molecular biologists reveal new insights into tumor progression

University of Delaware molecular biologist Mona Batish and collaborators at Harvard Medical School and University of California, Los Angeles, have identified a new circular ribonucleic acid (RNA) that increases tumor activity ...

The Swiss Army knife of gene editing gets new control

When researchers want to edit, activate, or silence a gene in any living organism, from bacteria to humans, they often turn to CRISPR/Cas9, a complex of RNA and protein that can act like a genetic Swiss Army knife.

Blue light for RNA control

Messenger RNA molecules contain genetic information and thus control the synthesis of proteins in living cells. Biochemists at the University of Bayreuth and the University of Bonn have now discovered a way to regulate this ...

Revolutionising the CRISPR method

Everyone's talking about CRISPR-Cas. This biotechnological method offers a relatively quick and easy way to manipulate single genes in cells, meaning they can be precisely deleted, replaced or modified. Furthermore, in recent ...

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RNA

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a biologically important type of molecule that consists of a long chain of nucleotide units. Each nucleotide consists of a nitrogenous base, a ribose sugar, and a phosphate. RNA is very similar to DNA, but differs in a few important structural details: in the cell, RNA is usually single-stranded, while DNA is usually double-stranded; RNA nucleotides contain ribose while DNA contains deoxyribose (a type of ribose that lacks one oxygen atom); and RNA has the base uracil rather than thymine that is present in DNA.

RNA is transcribed from DNA by enzymes called RNA polymerases and is generally further processed by other enzymes. RNA is central to the synthesis of proteins. Here, a type of RNA called messenger RNA carries information from DNA to structures called ribosomes. These ribosomes are made from proteins and ribosomal RNAs, which come together to form a molecular machine that can read messenger RNAs and translate the information they carry into proteins. There are many RNAs with other roles – in particular regulating which genes are expressed, but also as the genomes of most viruses.

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