Ch.7, Part 1 - DNA to RNA Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Ch.7, Part 1 - DNA to RNA Deck (42)
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What are the chem and struc diffs b/w DNA and RNA?

  • RNA differs fr DNA chemically: (1) ribonucleotides; (2) uracil (U) instead of thymine (T), wh can still base-pair by H-bonding w A.
  • RNA also differs fr DNA structurally: RNA is single-stranded → can fold into diff shapes (unlike DNA) → diversity of funcs, incl structural, regulatory, and catalytic roles.


T/F: All RNA in cell is made by transcription.


All RNA in cell is made by transcription.


Briefly summarize the process of transcription.


  • Open/unwind small portion of DNA double helix to expose bases on ea DNA strand.
  • One of two strands of DNA double helix acts as template for RNA synth.
  • Ribonucleotides are added, one by one, to growing RNA chain
  • Nucleotide seq is det by complem bp (H-bonding) w DNA template → incoming ribonucleotide covalently linked to growing RNA chain via RNA pol.
  • RNA transcript has ntide seq exactly complem to template DNA.


Summarize how transcription differs fr DNA replication.

Xcr differs fr DNA repl:

  • RNA transcript does not remain H-bonded to template
    • RNA is single-stranded.
  • RNAs are copied fr limited region of DNA → much shorter than DNA.
  • RNA pol
    • Like DNA pol, RNA pols catalyze formation of phosphodiester bonds that link ntides t/g and form sugar–P backbone of RNA chain.
    • RNA pol moves stepwise along DNA → unwinds DNA helix just ahead to expose new region of template strand for base-pairing → growing RNA extended one ntide at a time in 5′-to-3′ direction.
    • Incoming ribonucleoside triphosphates (ATP, CTP, UTP, and GTP) provide energy to drive rxn fwd.


Summarize the diffs b/w RNA and DNA polymerases.

Diff b/w RNA/DNA pol:

  • Both catalyze formation of phosphodiester bonds that link ntides t/g and form sugar–P backbone.
  • Both grow one ntide at a time in 5'-to-3' direction.
  • RNA pol uses ribonucleoside for phosphates as substrates → catalyzes linkage of ribonucleotides, not deoxyribonucleotides.
  • RNA pol can initiate synth w/o primer.
    • Likely evolved bc xcr need not be as accurate as DNA repl bc RNA not used as permanent storage form of GI → mistakes in RNA xcrs have relatively minor consequences for cell.
    • Rate of mutation: RNA pol = one mistake per 104 ntides; DNA pol = one mistake per 107 ntides.


The RNA transcript is almost immediately released from the DNA template as it is synthesized. How does this mechanism influence the rate of transcription?

The immediate release of the RNA transcript after synthesis results in many RNA copies can be made fr same gene in relatively short time

  • I.e. synth of next RNA typ begins before synth of prev RNA completed. 
  • E.g. medium-sized gene (~1500 ntide pairs) xcr's in ~50 seconds.
  • Many RNA pols work simult along single stretch of DNA → 1000+ transcripts synth'd w/I 1 hour.


The vast majority of genes in a cell's DNA specifies AA seqs of proteins → encoded by RNA → directs protein synth (via messenger RNAs; mRNAs). How do mRNAs differ in euks and bacteria?

Vast majority of genes in cell’s DNA specify AA seqs of proteins → encoded by RNA → directs protein synth (via messenger RNAs; mRNAs).

  • Euks: ea mRNA typ carries info xcr'd fr just one gene → single protein
  • Bac: set of adj genes often xcr'd as single mRNA → carries info for several diff genes/proteins.
    • Recall: operons.


Non-protein coding genes result in RNAs wh serve many roles in cell, incl regulatory, structural, and catalytic. Describe of few types of these ncRNAs.

Non-protein-coding RNAs:

  • Ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) - struc/catalytic core of ribosomes → translate mRNAs into protein.
  • Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) - adaptors; select specific AAs and hold in place on ribosome for incorporation into protein.
  • MicroRNAs (miRNAs) - key regulators of euk gene expression.


Transcription initiation is critical as it is the main point at wh cell selects wh proteins/RNAs to prod. Describe the recognition process (xcr initiation) in bacteria.

Xcr initiation in bacteria:

  • RNA pol randomly collides w DNA → sticks weakly to double helix → slides rapidly along its length.
  • RNA pol links tightly only after encountering promoter: gene region; contains specific ntide seq that lies immediately upstream of starting point for RNA synth.
  • RNA pol bound tightly to promoter → RNA pol opens double helix immediately in front of promoter to expose ntides on ea strand of a short stretch of DNA.


Consider a bacterial cell in wh RNA pol has tightly bound the promoter and opens the double-helix immediately in front of promoter to expose ntides on ea strand of a short stretch of DNA. What occurs next in bacterial transcription?

Xcr elongation/termination in bacteria:

  • One exposed DNA strand acts as template → two incoming ribonucleoside triphosphates joined t/g by RNA pol to begin synth of RNA transcript.
  • Elongation continues until RNA pol encounters terminator (stop site): gene region; RNA pol halts and releases both DNA template and RNA transcript.
    • Terminator seq is contained w/I gene → xcr'd into 3ʹ end of new RNA transcript.


What are bacterial promoters and terminators?

Bacterial promoters and terminators and gene regions w specific ntide seqs that are recognized by RNA polymerase.

  • Promoters:
    • Polarity of promoter orients the RNA pol and dets wh DNA strand is xcr'd. 
    • All bacterial promoters contain DNA seqs at -10 and -35 ntide positions (see Fig)
    • Not xcr'd into RNA transcript.
    • Note the typ TATA box.
  • Terminators:
    • Xcr'd into RNA transcript.


T/F: transcription of a bacterial gene typ starts at the promoter sequence.


Promoter seqs allow RNA pol to recognize DNA strand to be xcr'd, but promoter isn't xcr'd into an RNA transcript. I.e. xcr initiates further downstream of promoter seqs.


What are sigma factors wrt bacterial RNA pols?

Sigma factors are a subunit of bacterial RNA pols wh are primarily responsible for recognizing promoter seqs.

  • Recog promoters w/o unwinding DNA double-helix by scanning unique, exterior features of bases themselves.


How does the "polarity" of promoters affect transcription? 

Promoters have certain polarity: two diff ntide seqs upstream of xcr start site → position RNA pol and ensure binding in only one orientation.

  • RNA pol can only synth RNA in 5′-to-3′ direction → must use DNA strand oriented in 3′-to-5′ direction as template.


T/F: On a single chromosome, transcription always proceeds in the same direction.


While xcr always occurs in 5'-to-3' direction, genes can be transcribed fr either strand. Thus, xcr proceeds in either direction on a single chromosome.


Describe two ways in wh RNA polymerases are diff b/w bacteria/euks.

Diffs in bac/euk RNA pol:

  • Bac contain single type of RNA pol; euks have three types RNA pol (I, II, III) → ea resp for xcr diff types of genes.
    • RNA pol II xcr's vast majority of euk genes, incl all that encode proteins and miRNAs.
  • Bac RNA pol (along w sigma subunit) is able to initiate xcr on its own; euk RNA pols req assistance of many accessory proteins.
    • E.g. general transcription factors (GTFs): must assemble at ea euk promoter (along w RNA pol) before xcr initiation.


There are three types of euk RNA polymerase. What genes are transcribed by each?

Euks have RNA pol I/II/III, ea transcribing a diff gene:

  • RNA pol I - most rRNA genes
  • RNA pol II - all protein-coding genes, miRNA genes, other ncRNAs (spliceosomes).
  • RNA pol III - tRNA genes, 5S RNA gene, other small RNAs


Gene density is typ much lower in euks, i.e. large, non-coding regions b/w genes. How does this affect transcription regulation?

In euks, individual genes are spread out along DNA, incl stretches of up to 100,000 bp's b/w genes.

  • Struc allows single gene to be controlled by many regulatory DNA seqs scattered along DNA → enables more complex forms of xcr regulation.


Could RNA pol used for xcr be used as the polymerase that makes RNA primer req'd for DNA repl?

  • RNA pol used to make primers would need to initiate every few hundred bases, wh is much more often than promoters are spaced on DNA.
    • Initiation would need to occur in a promoter-indep fashion or many more promoters would have to be present in DNA, both problematic for xcr control.
  • Similarly, RNA primers used in DNA repl are much shorter than mRNAs → RNA pol would need to terminate much more freq than during xcr.
    • Termination would need to occur w/o terminator seq in DNA, or many more terminators would need to be present; again, both problematic for xcr control. 


How are general transcription factors involved in euk transcription?

GTFs are accessory proteins that assemble on promoter (gene region) whr they help position RNA pol and pull apart DNA double helix to expose template strand → allows RNA pol to initiate xcr.

  • Incl TFIIB, TFIID, etc.


A sigma factor is a subunit of bacterial RNA pol wh helps to recognize the promoter seq. What, if any, similar structures are present in euk transcription?

General transcription factors (GTFs; TFIIB, TFIID, etc) are tantamount to bacterial sigma factor; except GTFs are entirely sep accessory proteins, not a subunit of RNA pol.


Euk transcription initiation assembly process typ begins w binding of TFIID (GTF) to a short segment of DNA double helix composed primarily of _______ ntides, also called a _______.

Euk transcription initiation assembly process typ begins w binding of TFIID (GTF) to a short segment of DNA double helix composed primarily of T/A ntides, also called TATA box.

  • TATA box is typ located ~25 ntides upstream fr promoter.
  • Subunit of TFIID—TATA-binding protein (TBP)—recognizes and binds TATA seq.


Euk xcr initiation begins w TFIID (GTF) binding a TATA box upstream of the promoter seq. What happens as a result of this binding?

TFIID causes dramatic local distortion in DNA, wh helps direct other proteins to promoter → other factors (TFIIB) and RNA pol II assemble to form complete xcr initiation complex.


Before euk xcr can begin, RNA pol II must dissoc fr the complex of GTFs at the promoter. How does this occur?

Liberation of RNA pol II is initiated by GTF TFIIH, wh contains a protein kinase subunit → adds P groups to RNA pol II "tail"


T/F: After xcr begins, most GTFs dissoc fr DNA.


After xcr begins, most GTFs dissoc  fr DNA → available to initiate another round of xcr w new RNA pol II.


After transcription finishes, what must happen for RNA pol II to dissociate and initiate another round?

After xcr finishes, RNA pol II must be dephosphorylated (via phosphatases) in order to dissoc fr DNA and initiate new round of xcr. 

  • Only the dephosphorylated form of RNA pol II can initiate RNA synth.


Bacteria do not have a nucleus and thus DNA is directly exposed to cytoplasm. What does this indicate about transcription and translation?

Bac: no nucleus → DNA directly exposed to cytoplasm, wh contains ribosomes (site of xl).

  • Ribosomes immediately attach to free 5′ end of growing transcript and begin xl.
  • No post-xcr processing.


Euk mRNA transcripts (pre-mRNA) must be processed before leaving the nucleus to begin translation. What processing steps must occur, and where are the enzymes that facilitate these steps located?

Post-xcr processingcapping, splicing, and polyadenylation—is concurrent w xcr.

  • Enzymes involved are located on phosphorylated tail of RNA pol II → process transcript as it emerges fr pol II


T/F: the polyadenylated tail and 5' cap are encoded in the genome for each mRNA.


The polyA tail and 5' cap are not encoded in the genome; instead, the genome encodes seqs that specific proteins recognize and direction the addition of these post-xcr structures.


Describe the post-xcr process of RNA capping.

RNA capping:

  • Adds an atypical guanine (7-methyguanosine) to 5' end of RNA transcript (leading end/synth'd first).
  • Capping occurs after RNA pol II has produced ~25 ntides of RNA, i.e. long before xcr finishes.