Ribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid polymer whose building units are nucleotides.It is found in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. RNA is a complex macromolecule which plays significant role in cellular protein synthesis. Since Ribonucleic acid plays a pivotal role in the pathway from DNA to proteins, it is known as central dogma of molecular biology. Both nucleic acids are responsible for transmitting genetic information and are called the building blocks of life. RNA is formed by the process of transcription. Ribonucleic acid is a significant topic of research and forms the base of genetic engineering along with deoxyribonucleic acid. An important positive development in this field is gene therapy.
Ribonucleic acid was discovered by Michael Fischer in 1868-69. He named it nuclein. The set of rules through which information of of DNA or RNA is translated to amino acids by living cells is called genetic code.
Ribonucleic Acid is single stranded. It is made of ribonucleotide units such that 5' phosphate group is attached to 3' hydroxyl group. It is made of alternating sugar and phosphate groups. Each sugar is attached to anyone of the nitrogenous bases. The 4 nitrogenous bases in Ribonucleic acid are adenine, guanine, cytosine and uracil. These are linked by covalent bond.
Messenger RNA: It is synthesized from a gene segment of DNA which contains a code for protein synthesis. It carries code to the cytoplasm where protein formation takes place. Genetic code is based upon triplets of nucleotides. From the combination of nucleotides 64 different genetic codes are formed.
Transfer RNA: It reads the code on m-RNA . This is done by matching base pairs using hydrogen bonding after which pairing with the anticodon takes place. tRNA consists of 75 nucleotides with three anticodons and one amino acid. tRNA also carries the amino acid required for protein synthesis. One part of RNA doubles forming double helical sections. While amino acid gets attached at one end, on the other end a specific base triplet attaches so as to read the codes on the mRNA.
Ribosomal RNA: Ribosomal RNA combines with proteins in the cytoplasm to form nucleoprotein. This nucleoprotein called ribosome carries the enzymes required and also acts as the site of protein formation. Ribosome attaches to m-RNA in such a way that a stabilizing structure is formed which holds all substances in position during protein synthesis.
During transcription a segment of DNA is replicated. This replica is called m-RNA. This strand of Ribonucleic Acid is read by a ribosome. Enzyme Ribosome polymerase is used. Translation is the process of protein formation.