Ribonucleic acid (RNA)
Gray, Michael W. Department of Biochemistry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Beyer, Ann L. Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.
- Structure and synthesis
- Transfer RNA
- Ribosomal RNA
- Messenger RNA
- Small nuclear RNA
- Antisense RNA: microRNAs and small interfering RNAs
- Other types of RNA
- Viral RNA
- RNA editing
- Catalytic RNA
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
One of the two major classes of nucleic acid, mainly involved in translating the genetic information carried in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) into proteins. Various types of ribonucleic acids (RNAs) [see table] function in protein synthesis: transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) function in the synthesis of all proteins, whereas messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are a diverse set, with each member specifically directing the synthesis of one protein. Messenger RNA is the intermediate in the usual biological pathway of DNA → RNA → protein. However, RNA is a very versatile molecule. Other types of RNA serve other important functions for cells and viruses, such as the involvement of small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) in mRNA splicing. In some cases, RNA performs functions typically considered DNA-like, such as serving as the genetic material for certain viruses, or roles typically carried out by proteins, such as RNA enzymes or ribozymes. See also: Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); Nucleic acid
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