This lesson focuses on ribosomal RNA (rRNA).
It will cover what rRNA is, what it does in our cells, and how it is made. At the end of the lesson is a short description of how rRNA is used in medicine and science.
What Is rRNA?
To begin, ribonucleic acids (RNA) are a group of large molecules that have many different roles. They are especially important in the coding, decoding, regulation, and expression of our genes. As the name implies, ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is part of the ribosome.
A ribosome is the protein builder of the cell. The rest of a ribosome is made up of proteins. In addition, there are two rRNA in each ribosome, one in the large subunit and one in the small subunit.
Translation is the name of the process our cells use to make proteins. Ribosomes are the organelles that can take a copy of our genetic material and translate it into a protein.
The original genetic material is DNA, and it is stored in the cell’s nucleus. When a specific protein is needed, our cells make a copy of the DNA. This copy is also RNA, but it is called messenger RNA, or mRNA. Thus, ribosomes translate mRNA into protein.
To make a protein, ribosomes link together amino acids. The mRNA has the specific order in which the amino acids must be joined, and each protein has a different order of amino acids. The small subunit of rRNA can read the order of amino acids. Linking amino acids together is the function of the rRNA in the large subunit of the ribosome.
|Ribonucleic acids (RNA)||a group of large molecules that have many different roles in the coding, decoding, regulation, and expression of our genes|
|Ribosomal RNA (rRNA)||part of the ribosome|
|Ribosome||the protein builder of the cell|
|Translation||the process our cells use to make proteins|
|Transcription||the process of making a copy of DNA|
|RNA polymerase||protein is an enzyme that can read DNA and make an RNA copy|
|Stop codon||a special region at the end of the gene|
|Prokaryotes||single-celled organisms like bacteria|
|Eukaryotes||organisms whose cells have a nucleus and organelles|
|Sequence homology||refers to the ‘alikeness’ of the sequences|
Once you’ve finished with this lesson on rRNA, you should have the ability to:
- Define ribonucleic acids (RNA)
- Indicate the function of ribosomal RNA (rRNA)
- Recall the functions of the small and large subunits of rRNA
- Summarize translation and transcription
- Explain the importance of rRNA in modern medicine and in science