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15: Genes and How They Work

  • Page ID
    73845
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    • 15.1: The Nature of Genes
    • 15.2: The Genetic Code
      The cellular process of transcription generates messenger RNA (mRNA), a mobile molecular copy of one or more genes with an alphabet of A, C, G, and uracil (U). Translation of the mRNA template converts nucleotide-based genetic information into a protein product. Protein sequences consist of 20 commonly occurring amino acids; therefore, it can be said that the protein alphabet consists of 20 letters. Each amino acid is defined by a three-nucleotide sequence called the triplet codon.
    • 15.3: Prokaryotic Transcription
      The prokaryotes, which include bacteria and archaea, are mostly single-celled organisms that, by definition, lack membrane-bound nuclei and other organelles. A bacterial chromosome is a covalently closed circle that, unlike eukaryotic chromosomes, is not organized around histone proteins. The central region of the cell in which prokaryotic DNA resides is called the nucleoid. Prokaryotes often have abundant plasmids that are shorter circular DNA molecules that may only contain one or a few genes.
    • 15.4: Eukaryotic Transcription
      Prokaryotes and eukaryotes perform fundamentally the same process of transcription, with a few key differences. The most important difference between prokaryotes and eukaryotes is the latter’s membrane-bound nucleus and organelles. With the genes bound in a nucleus, the eukaryotic cell must be able to transport its mRNA to the cytoplasm and must protect its mRNA from degrading before it is translated.
    • 15.5: Eukaryotic pre-mRNA Splicing
      After transcription, eukaryotic pre-mRNAs must undergo several processing steps before they can be translated. Eukaryotic (and prokaryotic) tRNAs and rRNAs also undergo processing before they can function as components in the protein synthesis machinery.
    • 15.6: The Structure of tRNA and Ribosomes
      The synthesis of proteins consumes more of a cell’s energy than any other metabolic process. In turn, proteins account for more mass than any other component of living organisms (other than water), and proteins perform virtually every function of a cell. The process of translation, or protein synthesis, involves the decoding of an mRNA message into a polypeptide product. Amino acids are covalently bonded by interlinking peptide bonds in lengths ranging from ~50 amino acid residues to >1,000.
    • 15.7: The Process of Translation
      The synthesis of proteins is one of a cell’s most energy-consuming metabolic processes. In turn, proteins account for more mass than any other component of living organisms (with the exception of water), and proteins perform a wide variety of the functions of a cell. The process of translation, or protein synthesis, involves decoding an mRNA message into a polypeptide product. Amino acids are covalently strung together in lengths ranging from approximately 50 amino acids to more than 1,000.
    • 15.8: Summarizing Gene Expression
      The regulation of gene expression conserves energy and space. It would require a significant amount of energy for an organism to express every gene at all times, so it is more energy efficient to turn on the genes only when they are required. In addition, only expressing a subset of genes in each cell saves space because DNA must be unwound from its tightly coiled structure to transcribe and translate the DNA. Cells would have to be enormous if every protein were expressed in every cell all the
    • 15.9: Mutation- Altered Genes
      In the living cell, DNA undergoes frequent chemical change, especially when it is being replicated (in S phase of the eukaryotic cell cycle). Most of these changes are quickly repaired. Those that are not result in a mutation. Thus, mutation is a failure of DNA repair.


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