Transfer RNA (tRNA)

Transfer RNA (abbreviated tRNA) is a small RNA (usually about 74-95 nucleotides) that transfers a specific amino acid to a growing polypeptide chain at the ribosomal site of protein synthesis during translation. It has a 3′ terminal site for amino acid attachment. This covalent linkage is catalyzed by an aminoacyl tRNA synthetase. It also contains a three base region called the anticodon that can base pair to the corresponding three base codon region on mRNA.

Each type of tRNA molecule can be attached to only one type of amino acid, but because the genetic code contains multiple codons that specify the same amino acid, tRNA molecules bearing different anticodons may also carry the same amino acid.

tRNA has primary structure, secondary structure (usually visualized as the cloverleaf structure), and tertiary structure (all tRNAs have a similar L-shaped 3D structure that allows them to fit into the P and A sites of the ribosome).

  1. The 5′-terminal phosphate group.
  2. The acceptor stem is a 7-bp stem made by the base pairing of the 5′-terminal nucleotide with the 3′-terminal nucleotide (which contains the CCA 3′-terminal group used to attach the amino acid). The acceptor stem may contain non-Watson-Crick base pairs.
  3. The CCA tail is a CCA sequence at the 3′ end of the tRNA molecule. This sequence is important for the recognition of tRNA by enzymes critical in translation. In prokaryotes, the CCA sequence is transcribed. In eukaryotes, the CCA sequence is added during processing and therefore does not appear in the tRNA gene.
  4. The D arm is a 4 bp stem ending in a loop that often contains dihydrouridine.
  5. The anticodon arm is a 5-bp stem whose loop contains the anticodon.
  6. The TΨCG arm is a 5 bp stem containing the sequence TΨC where Ψ is a pseudouridine.
  7. Bases that have been modified, especially by methylation, occur in several positions outside the anticodon. The first anticodon base is sometimes modified to inosine (derived from adenine) or pseudouridine (derived from uracil).


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: