Ribonucleic Acid
Title: Ribonucleic Acid
Additional Names: RNA; yeast nucleic acid
Literature References: Polynucleotide directly involved in protein synthesis; found in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm of cells. The four primary nucleosides are adenosine, guanosine, cytidine and uridine, q.q.v.; minor nucleosides are also found. The nucleosides are linked by phosphate diester bonds from the 3¢-hydroxyl of one D-ribose to the 5¢-hydroxyl of the next. The secondary structure of RNA is that of an incompletely organized single-stranded polynucleotide consisting of some areas with helical structure alternating with nonhelical lengths. Compare Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). Structure: Brown, Todd in The Nucleic Acids vol. 1, E. Chargaff, J. N. Davidson, Eds. (Academic Press, NewYork, 1955) pp 409-439; Spirin, Prog. Nucleic Acid Res. 1, 301-345 (1963); J. N. Davidson, The Biochemistry of Nucleic Acids (Academic Press, New York, 7th ed., 1972) pp 106-128. Review of NMR studies: B. R. Reid, Annu. Rev. Biochem. 50, 969-996 (1981). Book: The Ribonucleic Acids, P. R. Stewart, D. S. Letham, Eds. (Springer-Verlag, New York, 2nd ed., 1977).
 
Derivative Type: Ribosomal RNA
Additional Names: rRNA
Literature References: Metabolically stable form; about 80% of the RNA found in cells; an important component of ribosomes, which play a central role in protein synthesis. Two rRNA species of high molecular weight have been isolated from ribosomes: mol wts approx 0.6´106 and 1.1´106 in bacterial cells; higher in eukaryotic cells. In addition, at least one rRNA species of low mol wt, 5S RNA, has been identified; approx 120 nucleotides. Reviews: Attardi, Amaldi, Annu. Rev. Biochem. 39, 183-226; Möller, Garrett, "The Ribonucleic Acids of the Bacterial Ribosome" in Protein Synthesis vol. 1, E. H. McConkey, Ed. (Dekker, New York, 1971) pp 229-272; Craig, "Ribosomal RNA Synthesis in Eukaryotes and its Regulation" in MTP Int. Rev. Sci.: Biochem., Ser. One vol. 6, K. Burton, Ed. (University Park Press, Baltimore, 1974) pp 255-288.
 
Derivative Type: Messenger RNA
Additional Names: mRNA; informational RNA
Literature References: A short-lived form of high molecular weight; acts as template for protein synthesis in the cell; complementary to one strand of DNA. A linear relationship exists between the sequence of amino acids in a polypeptide and the sequence of nucleotides in the corresponding mRNA and DNA. The genetic code has been proposed to explain the necessary translation process. The four purine and pyrimidine bases are treated as letters which can be combined to form 3-letter words or codons; 43 or 64 codons can be formed. 61 have been found to code for specific amino acids; the remaining three are probably chain termination codons. Reviews of mRNA and the genetic code: Lipmann, "Messenger Ribonucleic Acid" in Prog. Nucleic Acid Res. 1, 135-161 (1963); Crick, "The Recent Excitement in the Coding Problem" ibid., pp 163-217; Woese, "The Present Status of the Genetic Code" in Prog. Nucleic Acid Res. Mol. Biol. 7, 107-172 (1967); Hadjiolov, "Ribonucleic Acids and Information Transfer in Animal Cells" ibid. 195-242; Jukes, Gatlin, "Recent Studies Concerning the Coding Mechanism" ibid. 11, 303-350 (1971); J. N. Davidson, The Biochemistry of the Nucleic Acids (Academic Press, New York, 7th ed., 1972) pp 290-383; Mathews, "Mammalian Messenger RNA" in Essays in Biochemistry vol. 9, P. N. Campbell, F. Dickens, Eds. (Academic Press, New York, 1973) pp 59-102; Brawerman, Annu. Rev. Biochem. 43, 621-642 (1974); Watts, Watts, "The Genetic Code" in MTP Int. Rev. Sci.: Biochem., Ser. One vol. 7, H. R. V. Arnstein, Ed. (University Park Press, Baltimore, 1975) pp 255-294.
 
Derivative Type: Transfer RNA
Additional Names: tRNA; soluble RNA; sRNA
Literature References: Low mol wt: 23,000-27,000; approx 75-85 nucleotides. Each tRNA is specific for and binds with a particular amino acid; more than one may exist for each amino acid. Performs three functions during protein synthesis: binds with its specific amino acid; recognizes the corresponding codon on mRNA and places the amino acid in the correct position for attachment to the polypeptide chain being formed; binds the polypeptide to the ribosome. First determination of total structure of a transfer RNA (yeast alanine tRNA): Holley et al., Science 147, 1462 (1965). Reviews of structure and function: Miura, "Specificity in the Structure of Transfer RNA" in Prog. Nucleic Acid Res. Mol. Biol. 6, 39-82 (1967); Cramer, "Three-Dimensional Structure of tRNA", ibid. 11, 391-421 (1971); Nucleic Acid Sequence Analysis, S. Mandeles (Columbia University Press, New York, 1972) pp 256-280; Nishimura, "Transfer RNA: Structure and Biosynthesis" in MTP Int. Rev. Sci.: Biochem., Ser. One vol. 6, K. Burton, Ed. (University Park Press, Baltimore, 1974) pp 289-322; A. Rich, V. L. Raj Bhandary, Annu. Rev. Biochem. 45, 805-860 (1976); P. F. Agris, The Modified Nucleosides of Transfer RNA II (A. R. Liss, New York, 1983) 220 pp.

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