What is Messenger RNA?

Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a type of ribonucleic acid. Nucleic acids, such as ribonucleic acid or RNA, store and transport the genetic information that will define the characteristics of each cell.

In this sense, messenger RNA is responsible for transporting the genetic information collected from DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) to the ribosomes that translate this information to synthesize the necessary proteins.

The mRNA plays a different role in prokaryotic cells (without defined nucleus) and eukaryotes (with defined nucleus).

In prokaryotic cells, such as bacteria, transcripts of mature RNA are immediately translated into proteins.

In contrast, in eukaryotic cells, as in humans, for example, mature RNA collects and transports the genetic information of DNA through the nucleus to the ribosomes.

Structure of messenger RNA

The structure of mRNA is more complex in eukaryotic cells than in prokaryotes. In cells of cell organisms with defined nuclei or eukaryotes, the mRNA must go through the process of splicing the RNA.

RNA splicing is the removal of introns and the fixation of exons from the previous mRNA, also called pre-mRNA. Introns are apparently unusable code segments and are therefore eliminated. Instead, exons are what remain in mature mRNA.

In addition, the mRNA of eukaryotic cells differ from prokaryotes by having a Cap 5 ‘group at one end and a 3’ tail at the other that will help ribosomes effectively translate the information.

Cap 5 ‘is a modified guanine (G) nucleotide that protects mRNA from degradation and helps binding with the ribosome to be read.

The 3 ‘tail contains hundreds of adenine nucleotides (A) that give mRNA greater stability to travel from the nucleus to the cytosol.

Messenger RNA and ribosomes

When the mRNA travels out of the nucleus until it joins the ribosome, the transfer RNA (tRNA) of the ribosome is responsible for matching the translated amino acids of the mRNA with the ribosome.

In this way, the ribosome organizes and creates the protein chain.