Where does translation take place?


According to “Nature,” translation occurs within a specialized organelle known as a ribosome. Translation is the process by which mRNA is “read” in order to organize the genetic code into sequences known as codons, three-chain amino acids.

The cell type determines if the mRNA molecule must leave the nucleus to reach the ribosomes. Prokaryotes, for instance, cells that lack a membrane-bound nucleus, can attach to mRNA while it is being transcribed. Eukaryotes, cells with a membrane-enclosed nucleus, must leave the nucleus and travel to the cytoplasm to reach the ribosomes for translation.

Ribosomes exist within the cytoplasm and are composed of two separate subunits: a large unit and a small subunit. A ribosome is functional when a large and small subunit join together and attach to a mRNA molecule. The ribosomal subunits, which contain protein and the specialized RNA molecules known as ribosomal RNA, rRNA, and transfer RNA, tRNA, each play its part. One end of the tRNA molecule attaches itself to the codons to read the three-chain amino acid sequences present in the mRNA, while the other end attaches to a specific amino acid. Due to this ability, tRNA is known as an adaptor molecule. The rRNA molecule, then, catalyzes or initiates the attachment of each amino acid to the growing protein chain as mRNA is translated.

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