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    The Role of Ribosomes and Peptide Bonds in Genetic Translation

    Ribosomes live on the endoplasmic reticulum surrounding the nucleus and are key in the process of polypeptide assembly. This is essential for...

    The Role of Ribosomes and Peptide Bonds in Genetic Translation

    Instructor: April Koch

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    Ribosomes live on the endoplasmic reticulum surrounding the nucleus and are key in the process of polypeptide assembly. This is essential for genetic translation because amino acid chains are linked together by peptide bonds. Explore the structure of ribosomes and how peptide bonds are formed. Updated: 08/18/2021

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    Review of Polypeptide Assembly

    So far, we've had a lot of practice with the process of translation. It's the second step in the central dogma, which involves converting the genetic code in mRNA into a chain of amino acids. During translation, tRNA molecules first match up with the amino acids that fit their attachment sites. Then, they attach to the mRNA strand by matching their anticodons to the mRNA codons. We know that amino acids are assembled in the correct order because of good codon recognition. But, how do we begin polypeptide assembly? Do the amino acids just magically bond together? How do we make sure we get the tRNA, the mRNA, and the amino acids all in the same place at the same time?

    You may recall a tiny structure in the cell called a ribosome. Ribosomes are the little 'dots' that live on the rough endoplasmic reticulum surrounding the nucleus of a cell. They are very important organelles that make polypeptide assembly possible. In this lesson, we're going to focus on the ribosome and the role it plays in helping to begin genetic translation.

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    Ribosomes and Peptide Bonds

    Translation is easier to understand when you think of it like following a recipe for your favorite dish. The mRNA strand is like the recipe because it contains all the instructions for making a product. mRNA is the type of RNA that encodes the genetic information found in DNA. When mRNA leaves the nucleus, it first goes looking for a tiny structure called a ribosome. This will be the actual site of translation.

    You might recall that a ribosome is a cell organelle that helps in assembling chains of amino acids. It's made of ribosomal RNA, or rRNA, and protein. Ribosomes are located on the rough endoplasmic reticulum, or RER, that surrounds a cell's nucleus. In fact, ribosomes are the reason that the RER is called 'rough;' they give the endoplasmic reticulum a rough appearance when viewed under a microscope.

    Anyway, you can think of the ribosome as sort of the 'skillet' of translation; it's the place where all the action happens. The ribosome serves as a central hub where all of the ingredients are combined by the cell's machinery. So, if the ribosome is the skillet, and mRNA is the recipe, then what exactly are the ingredients?

    Proteins are made up of many of the twenty available amino acids

    The ingredients for our protein product are going to be the amino acids. You may recall that amino acids are the organic molecules that serve as the monomers for proteins. There are 20 different amino acids to choose from, and their exact combinations are unique to every protein, so it's crucial that we put the amino acids in the correct order.

    When two amino acids are joined together by a chemical bond, we call it a peptide bond. A peptide bond is a covalent bond between two amino acids. We know that proteins are made from long chains of amino acids. So, if you have an amino acid chain, then you also have lots of peptide bonds. For this reason, we often use the word polypeptide to describe an amino acid chain. A polypeptide is a chain of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. 'Poly' means 'many,' just like in the word 'polymer;' and 'peptide' refers to a peptide bond, so a molecule with many peptide bonds is called a polypeptide. If a polypeptide is the final product that we get from translation, then the peptide bonds are like the mixing of the ingredients in our skillet.

    Ribosome Structure

    We've got a lot of new terms and molecules floating around here. So, let's look at how everything fits together. We'll start with the cell. Inside the cell is the nucleus, and surrounding it is the endoplasmic reticulum. We can see dots on the rough ER, which are the ribosomes. They like to sit close to the nucleus because they're waiting for the mRNAs to come out. The mRNA strands result from transcription, which happens inside the nucleus. So, once transcription is done, mRNA comes out, and sitting there waiting are all the ribosomes. The mRNAs link up with the ribosomes in order to start translation.

    When mRNA leaves the nucleus, it seeks out a ribosome

    Okay, so now we've got an mRNA who has found itself a ribosome. The ribosome is a special protein that is built to accept the mRNA strand. It actually has two different parts, with one part roughly twice as big as the other. The small part is called the small ribosomal subunit, and the mRNA strand sits on top of it. The large part is called the large ribosomal subunit. It sits on top of the mRNA strand and has special spots for the tRNA molecules to come in.

    Source : study.com

    Cells Quest Flashcards & Practice Test

    Start studying Cells Quest. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools.

    Cells Quest

    What is responsible for the "rough" appearance of endoplasmic reticulum

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    ribosomes

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    What is the purpose of the flagellum?

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    Movement

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    Terms in this set (21)

    What is responsible for the "rough" appearance of endoplasmic reticulum

    ribosomes

    What is the purpose of the flagellum?

    Movement

    What best summarizes the cell theory?

    Cells are the building blocks of living things

    Which pair of structures best shows that plant cells have functions different from animal cells?

    Chloroplasts and cell walls

    When an animal eats, food stays in the stomach for a period of time. When a unicellular organism, such as Paramecium, takes in food, the food is contained in which organelle?

    Vacuole

    In the human body, the circulatory system transports and delivers substances. Within the cell, which organelle performs a similar function?

    Endoplasmic reticulum

    Compared to a skin cell, a muscle cell is likely to have more...

    Mictochondria

    Amino acids link together by peptide bonds to form proteins. In which cellular organelle would this process occur?

    Ribosome

    Which of these is the best model of a prokaryotic cell?

    F

    After a cell was treated with a certain chemical, the ribosomes stopped functioning. Which cell activity was immediately affected by this change in ribosome function?

    Protein Synthesis

    Cells from which of the following organisms would be expected to contain cell walls?

    Water Lilly

    What repackages proteins into forms the cell can use, expel, or keep stored?

    Golgi bodies

    Which structures are found in every living thing?

    Plasma membrane and cytoplam

    The endosymbiotic theory is an attempt to explain the presence of the_________________ in the eukaryotic cell.

    Mitochondria and chloroplasts

    What is the primary differentaiting characteristics between eularyotes and prokaryotes?

    Eukaryotes have membrane-bound organelles and nuckeus; prokaryotes do not.

    Which of the following is a function of the cytoskeleton?

    Helps a cell keep its shape

    Which term refers to cells having different jobs in an organism?

    Cell Specialization

    A plant cell contains a large membrane bound, sac like structure that stores materials such as water, salts, proteins, and carbs. When this sac like structure is full, it makes the cell rigid, which enables a plant to stand up straight. This sac like structure is most likely what organelle?

    Vacuole

    The student hypothesizes that Sample 3 is a plant cell. What structure in Sample 3 supports this hypothesis.

    Cell Wall

    List the 3 parts of the cell theory?

    1. All living organisms are made up of cells

    2. cells arise from previous cells

    3. cells are the smallest most basic unit of living organisms

    ... ...

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    From RNA to Protein

    In the preceding section we have seen that the final product of some genes is an RNA molecule itself, such as those present in the snRNPs and in ribosomes. However, most genes in a cell produce mRNA molecules that serve as intermediaries on the pathway to proteins. In this section we examine how the cell converts the information carried in an mRNA molecule into a protein molecule. This feat of translation first attracted the attention of biologists in the late 1950s, when it was posed as the “coding problem”: how is the information in a linear sequence of nucleotides in RNA translated into the linear sequence of a chemically quite different set of subunits—the amino acids in proteins? This fascinating question stimulated great excitement among scientists at the time. Here was a cryptogram set up by nature that, after more than 3 billion years of evolution, could finally be solved by one of the products of evolution—human beings. And indeed, not only has the code been cracked step by step, but in the year 2000 the elaborate machinery by which cells read this code—the ribosome—was finally revealed in atomic detail.

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    Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition.

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    From RNA to Protein

    In the preceding section we have seen that the final product of some genes is an RNA molecule itself, such as those present in the snRNPs and in ribosomes. However, most genes in a cell produce mRNA molecules that serve as intermediaries on the pathway to proteins. In this section we examine how the cell converts the information carried in an mRNA molecule into a protein molecule. This feat of translation first attracted the attention of biologists in the late 1950s, when it was posed as the “coding problem”: how is the information in a linear sequence of nucleotides in RNA translated into the linear sequence of a chemically quite different set of subunits—the amino acids in proteins? This fascinating question stimulated great excitement among scientists at the time. Here was a cryptogram set up by nature that, after more than 3 billion years of evolution, could finally be solved by one of the products of evolution—human beings. And indeed, not only has the code been cracked step by step, but in the year 2000 the elaborate machinery by which cells read this code—the ribosome—was finally revealed in atomic detail.

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    An mRNA Sequence Is Decoded in Sets of Three Nucleotides

    Once an mRNA has been produced, by transcription and processing the information present in its nucleotide sequence is used to synthesize a protein. Transcription is simple to understand as a means of information transfer: since DNA and RNA are chemically and structurally similar, the DNA can act as a direct template for the synthesis of RNA by complementary base-pairing. As the term signifies, it is as if a message written out by hand is being converted, say, into a typewritten text. The language itself and the form of the message do not change, and the symbols used are closely related.

    In contrast, the conversion of the information in RNA into protein represents a translation of the information into another language that uses quite different symbols. Moreover, since there are only four different nucleotides in mRNA and twenty different types of amino acids in a protein, this translation cannot be accounted for by a direct one-to-one correspondence between a nucleotide in RNA and an amino acid in protein. The nucleotide sequence of a gene, through the medium of mRNA, is translated into the amino acid sequence of a protein by rules that are known as the genetic code. This code was deciphered in the early 1960s.

    The sequence of nucleotides in the mRNA molecule is read consecutively in groups of three. RNA is a linear polymer of four different nucleotides, so there are 4 × 4 × 4 = 64 possible combinations of three nucleotides: the triplets AAA, AUA, AUG, and so on. However, only 20 different amino acids are commonly found in proteins. Either some nucleotide triplets are never used, or the code is redundant and some amino acids are specified by more than one triplet. The second possibility is, in fact, the correct one, as shown by the completely deciphered genetic code in Figure 6-50. Each group of three consecutive nucleotides in RNA is called a codon, and each codon specifies either one amino acid or a stop to the translation process.

    Figure 6-50

    The genetic code. The standard one-letter abbreviation for each amino acid is presented below its three-letter abbreviation (see Panel 3-1, pp. 132–133, for the full name of each amino acid and its structure). By convention, codons are always (more...)

    This genetic code is used universally in all present-day organisms. Although a few slight differences in the code have been found, these are chiefly in the DNA of mitochondria. Mitochondria have their own transcription and protein synthesis systems that operate quite independently from those of the rest of the cell, and it is understandable that their small genomes have been able to accommodate minor changes to the code (discussed in Chapter 14).

    In principle, an RNA sequence can be translated in any one of three different reading frames, depending on where the decoding process begins (Figure 6-51). However, only one of the three possible reading frames in an mRNA encodes the required protein. We see later how a special punctuation signal at the beginning of each RNA message sets the correct reading frame at the start of protein synthesis.

    Figure 6-51

    The three possible reading frames in protein synthesis. In the process of translating a nucleotide sequence into an amino acid sequence the sequence of nucleotides in an mRNA molecule is read from the 5′ to the 3′ end in (more...)

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    tRNA Molecules Match Amino Acids to Codons in mRNA

    The codons in an mRNA molecule do not directly recognize the amino acids they specify: the group of three nucleotides does not, for example, bind directly to the amino acid. Rather, the translation of mRNA into protein depends on adaptor molecules that can recognize and bind both to the codon and, at another site on their surface, to the amino acid. These adaptors consist of a set of small RNA molecules known as transfer RNAs (tRNAs), each about 80 nucleotides in length.

    Source : www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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