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KOLEJ MATRIKULASI SELANGOR KEMENTERIAN PENDIDIKAN.

MALAYSIA

SCIENCE STREAM (MODULE 1)

SEMESTER 1

SESSION 2018/2019

SB015 BIOLOGY

6.0 EXPRESSION OF BIOLOGICAL INFORMATION

LECTURER-IN-CHARGE:
SARAH NABILA MD SALLEHUDDIN KHAN

AMMAR BIN NOR SHAHRIN


MATRIX NO.: MS1823131737
PRACTICUM: S1K4P5
QUESTION 2

Introduction
Genes give the instructions for building specific proteins, but it does not build a protein
directly. RNA is the link between DNA and protein synthesis. RNA is chemically similar to
DNA except its sugar is ribose instead of deoxyribose and has uracil rather than thymine for
its nitrogenous base (see Figure 1). Therefore, the nucleotides of a DNA has A, G, C or T as
its base whereas the nucleotides of an RNA has A, G, C, or U as its base. An RNA molecule
usually consists of a single strand.

Figure 1. The structure of DNA and RNA. Reprinted from alevelbiology.co.uk, n.d.,
Retrieved October 5, 2018, from https://alevelbiology.co.uk/wp-
content/uploads/dlm_uploads/2017/06/AQA-AS-Biology-3.1.5-Nucleic-Acids.pdf.
Copyright 2017 by Clever Bytes Ltd. Reprinted with permission.

The cell transfers the instructions to make proteins via a process called transcription, which
is the synthesis of RNA using information in the DNA. Information is simply transcribed
from DNA to RNA, in which the DNA provides a template for making a new complementary
sequence of RNA nucleotides. The resulting RNA molecule is called messenger RNA
(mRNA).
Translation is the synthesis of a polypeptide using the information in the mRNA. In this
stage, the cell translates the nucleotide sequence of an mRNA molecue into the amino acid
sequence of a polypeptide. The sites of translation are ribosomes.
The mechanics of transcription is similar for bacteria and eukaryotes, except bacteria do not
have nuclei whereas eukaryotes do. Therefore, nuclear membranes do not separate bacterial
DNA and mRNA from ribosomes. The presence of nuclei in eukaryotes separates
transcription from translation in space and time. Transcription occurs in the nucleus, and for
eukaryotic cells, pre-mRNA is produced which is modified to produce mRNA that can leave
the nucleus.
Transcription
During transcription, mRNA is synthesised using a specific segment of the DNA as a
template. The segment of DNA is known as a gene. A single gene is a segment of the DNA
that codes for the synthesis of a specific protein.
A gene consists of a promoter followed by the mRNA-coding sequence for the synthesis of
a protein, and then a terminator figure.
<figure here>
The promoter is a sequence of base pairs in DNA that specifies where transcription is to
begin. The RNA-coding sequence is a sequence of base pairs that contains coding
information for the polypeptide chain specified by the gene. The terminator is a sequence of
base pairs that specifies the end of the mRNA transcript.
Like the synthesis of DNA during DNA replication, the synthesis of mRNA also occurs in
the 5’  3’ direction, but the enzyme involved in the process is RNA polymerase.
There are three stages in the transcription of DNA to RNA, that is, initiation, elongation and
termination.
a) Initiation
i) In prokaryotes, initiation of transcription occurs with the specific recognition of
the promoter sequence by RNA polymerase. Initiation in eukaryotes is more
complex whereby RNA polymerase recognises a complex of proteins that help the
binding of the enzyme to the promoter sequence.
ii) Transcription begins with the unwinding of the DNA strands by RNA polymerase
at the promoter site. One of the DNA strands acts as template for transcription.

<figure here>
b) Elongation
As RNA polymerase moves along the 3’  5’ DNA template, free nucleotides are added
in the 5’  3’ direction complementary to the DNA template. During elongation,
nucleotides are added to the growing RNA strand according to the same base pairing rules
as for DNA, except that uracil is added instead of thymine when adenine is encountered
on the DNA does not have thymine.
c) Termination
i) Termination of transcription occurs when RNA polymerase encounters the
terminator sequence of the DNA template.
ii) When transcription is complete, the RNA transcript is released from the DNA
template, followed by the RNA polymerase.
iii) In prokaryotes, the RNA transcript can be immediately translated by ribosomes
whereas in eukaryotes, it must go through RNA processing before leaving the
nucleus.
Significance of RNA processing in eukaryotic cells
Transcription in eukaryotic cells differs from prokaryotic cells in that the RNA transcript is
a pre-mRNA molecule which requires modification before it can leave the nucleus.
This is because many eukaryotic genes contain non-coding segments, called introns that
break up the amino acid coding sequence into segments known as exons figure. During
transcription, RNA polymerase transcribes both exons and introns from the DNA but the
introns will not be translated.
<figure here>
The introns are removed from the pre-mRNA and the exons are then joined together to form
a mature mRNA molecule with a continuous coding sequence. The process, which is known
as RNA processing or splicing, requires the aid of many enzymes.
The mature mRNA then leaves the nucleus to be translated by ribosomes in the cytoplasm.
The genetic code
The information or instruction to synthesise a protein is transcribed from DNA, and then
carried by mRNA from the nucleus into the cytoplasm.
There are only four nucleotide bases in DNA (A, G, C and T) and RNA (A, G, C and U),
but twenty different amino acids that make up proteins.
a) If one base codes for one amino acid, then this singlet code can only code for four amino
acids table. This is not enough to code for all twenty amino acids.
b) If two bases code for one amino acid, then this doublet code can code for 42 = 16 amino
acids, which is still not enough for all twenty amino acids.
c) However, if three bases code for one amino acid, then this triplet code can code for 43 =
64 amino acids, which is more than enough to code for all the twenty amino acids. Thus,
one amino acid can be coded by more than one triplet code.

Table ## The number of codes that can be formed from four types of different bases
when each code comprises one base (singlet code), two bases (doublet code)
and three bases (triplet code).
Singlet code (4 Doublet code (16 codes) Triplet code (64 codes)
codes)
A AA AG AC AT AAA AAG AAC AAT
G GA GG GC GT AGA AGG AGC AGT
C CA CG CC CT ACA ACG ACC ACT
T TA TG TC TT ATA ATG ATC ATT
GAA GAG GAC GAT
GGA GGG GGC GGT
GCA GCG GCC GCT
GTA GTG GTC GTT
CAA CAG CAC CAT
CGA CGG CGC CGT
CCA CCG CCC CCT
CTA CTG CTC CTT
TAA TAG TAC TAT
TGA TGG TGC TGT
TCA TCG TCC TCT
TTA TTG TTC TTT
Key: A = Adenine; G = Guanine; C = Cytosine; T = Thymine

Each triplet code on the DNA template or mRNA strand is known as a codon. Each codon
represents one amino acid as shown in table.
Table ## Genetic codes and the amino acids coded

Second character
A G T C
A AAA phe AGA ATA trp ACA A
cys
AAG AGG ser ATG ACG G
AAT AGT ATT ACT terminator T
leu terminator
AAC AGC ATC ACC trp C
G GAA GGA GTA his GCA A
GAG GGG GTG GCG G

Third character
First character

leu pro arg


GAT GGT GTT GCT T
gln
GAC GGC GTC GCC C
T TAA TGA TTA TCA ser A
ileu TGG asn
TAG TTG TCG G
thr
TAT TGT TTT TCT arg T
met glu
TAC TGC TTC TCC C
C CAA CGA CTA CCA A
CAG CGG CTG asp CCG G
val ala CTT gly
CAT CGT CCT T
glu
CAC CGC CTC CCC C
(a) Triplet codes (codons) on DNA

Second character
U C A G
U UUU phe UCU UAU trp UGU U
cys
UUG UGG ser UAC UGC C
UUT UGT UAA UGA terminator A
leu terminator
UUC UGC UAG UGG trp G
C CUU CCU CAU CGU U
his
CUC CCC CAC CGC C
Third character
First character

leu CCA pro arg


CUA CAA CGA A
gln
CUG CCG CAG CGG G
A AUU ACU AAU AGU ser U
ileu ACC asn
AUC AAC AGC C
thr
AUA met ACA AAA AGA arg A
glu
AUG ACG AAG AGG G
G GUU GCU GAU GGU U
GUC GCC GAC asp GGC C
val ala gly
GUA GCA GAA GGA A
glu
GUG GCG GAG GGG G
(b) Triplet codes (codons) on mRNA
Note that thymine (T) in DNA has been replaced by uracil (U) in mRNA
Abbreviations for the 20 types of amino acids are as follows.
ala = alanine arg = arginine asn = asparagine
asp = aspartic acid cys = cysteine gln = glutamine
glu = glutamic acid gly = glycine his = histidine
ileu = isoleucine leu = leucine lys = lysine
met = methionine phe = phenylalanine pro = proline
ser = serine thr = threonine trp = tryptophan
tyr = tyrosine val = valine

The codon AUG that codes for the amino acid methionine is called the start codon (also
known as the initiation codon). It is important for directing the ribosome where to start
synthesising a polypeptide
There are three triplet codes that do not code for any known amino acids. They are called
nonsense codons, namely the stop codons, UAA, UAG and UGA (also called termination
codons) that direct the ribosome where to stop synthesising a polypeptide.
References