How cells make protein molecules
Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2001
One of the most important tasks of any living cell is making the protein molecules that form its internal structures, trigger important chemical reactions, and fill many other roles. How are protein molecules made?
Protein molecules are assembled from simple molecules called amino acids by molecular machines called ribosomes, themselves made largely out of protein. A ribosome starts making a protein by catching the end of a molecule called messenger RNA, which contains the coded instructions to make the protein.
The messenger RNA (which was created by reading DNA in the cell's nucleus) feeds through the ribosome like a ribbon, and as it feeds through its code is read. The ribosome recognizes the pattern of code, and adds the appropriate amino acids to the partially completed protein. When the protein molecule is finished, it is released and the ribosome can begin building another one. More
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