RNA: Basic Knowledge

by Kevin Ahern, PhD

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    Of the three molecules participating in the central dogma: DNA, RNA and proteins; RNA probably has the most diverse set of functions of any of them. In this talk I will give some background about the different types of RNA, discuss the structures and functions of the various RNAs, and then give an example of gene expression in a prokaryotic system. Now RNA, of course, is made from DNA in the process of transcription and the copy of DNA is made into RNA using the nucleotides U, G, C and A. RNA is processed by various enzymes known as RNAses. And RNA can also be completely broken down by various other RNAses. So it's a relatively unstable molecule to work with. Some viruses like HIV or measles and flu virus actually use RNA as their genetic material and not DNA. So the role of RNA in the central dogma is central to the central dogma. Now the central dogma, of course, says that DNA copies itself, DNA makes RNA and RNA can in some cases go back to DNA by reverse transcriptase, as we have seen. But more importantly RNA goes and makes protein and that protein is essential, as we have seen, for all living cells. So RNA has many functions and some of these functions include the following. Obviously, we have discussed in other presentations, the synthesis of proteins and this includes the various most common types of RNA: the transfer RNA, the ribosomal RNA and the messenger RNA. RNA, as I noted, is the genetic material for certain RNA containing viruses. RNA has been found to catalyze reactions in some cases and this type of the RNA has the name of a ribozyme. RNA is also, more recently described as, being able to control gene expression and...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture RNA: Basic Knowledge by Kevin Ahern, PhD is from the course RNA and the Genetic Code. It contains the following chapters:

    • RNA - Introduction
    • Structures and Functions
    • Gene Expression in a Prokaryotic System
    • Lac Operon

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. ...is made by copying DNA.
    2. ...requires multiple RNA polymerases in E. coli.
    3. ...is synthesized starting at an origin.
    4. ...is able to make fewer base pairings than DNA.
    1. tRNA contains codons.
    2. Three forms are used in translation.
    3. Some forms of it catalyze reactions.
    4. It is sometimes used as genetic material.
    1. ...has more possibilities than DNA, due to G-U base pairs.
    2. ...cannot have duplexes within one strand.
    3. ...causes ribosomes to come apart at the end of translation.
    4. ...is in the B-form when it is a duplex.
    1. ...have many chemically modified bases.
    2. ...resemble rRNAs in structure.
    3. ...have an amino acid attached at their 5’ ends.
    4. ...have 5’ ends terminating in CCA.
    1. ...contains multiple genes under the control of a single promoter.
    2. ...is the way eukaryotes organize genes in their genome.
    3. ...is not found in prokaryotes.
    4. ...is a name for a set of spliced genes.
    1. ...CAP protein binds to DNA when it binds to cAMP.
    2. ...the lac repressor binds DNA when it binds to allo-lactose.
    3. ...RNA polymerase binds to the promoter when it is bound to lactose.
    4. ...it is turned off when the cell has low energy and lactose is present.

    Author of lecture RNA: Basic Knowledge

     Kevin Ahern, PhD

    Kevin Ahern, PhD

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