Depiction of the adenine–thymine Watson–Crick base pair
The interaction of tRNA and mRNA in protein synthesis.
Secondary cloverleaf structure of tRNAPhe from yeast.
Tertiary structure of tRNA. CCA tail in yellow, Acceptor stem in purple, Variable loop in orange, D arm in red, Anticodon arm in blue with Anticodon in black, T arm in green.
3D animated GIF showing the structure of phenylalanine-tRNA from yeast (PDB ID 1ehz). White lines indicate base pairing by hydrogen bonds. In the orientation shown, the acceptor stem is on top and the anticodon on the bottom
Bulge-helix-bulge motif of a tRNA intron

This is particularly important in RNA molecules (e.g., transfer RNA), where Watson–Crick base pairs (guanine–cytosine and adenine–uracil) permit the formation of short double-stranded helices, and a wide variety of non–Watson–Crick interactions (e.g., G–U or A–A) allow RNAs to fold into a vast range of specific three-dimensional structures.

- Base pair

The anticodon forms three complementary base pairs with a codon in mRNA during protein biosynthesis.

- Transfer RNA
Depiction of the adenine–thymine Watson–Crick base pair

5 related topics

Alpha

A representation of the 3D structure of the protein myoglobin showing turquoise α-helices. This protein was the first to have its structure solved by X-ray crystallography. Toward the right-center among the coils, a prosthetic group called a heme group (shown in gray) with a bound oxygen molecule (red).

Protein

Proteins are large biomolecules and macromolecules that comprise one or more long chains of amino acid residues.

Proteins are large biomolecules and macromolecules that comprise one or more long chains of amino acid residues.

A representation of the 3D structure of the protein myoglobin showing turquoise α-helices. This protein was the first to have its structure solved by X-ray crystallography. Toward the right-center among the coils, a prosthetic group called a heme group (shown in gray) with a bound oxygen molecule (red).
John Kendrew with model of myoglobin in progress
Chemical structure of the peptide bond (bottom) and the three-dimensional structure of a peptide bond between an alanine and an adjacent amino acid (top/inset). The bond itself is made of the CHON elements.
Resonance structures of the peptide bond that links individual amino acids to form a protein polymer
A ribosome produces a protein using mRNA as template
The DNA sequence of a gene encodes the amino acid sequence of a protein
The crystal structure of the chaperonin, a huge protein complex. A single protein subunit is highlighted. Chaperonins assist protein folding.
Three possible representations of the three-dimensional structure of the protein triose phosphate isomerase. Left: All-atom representation colored by atom type. Middle: Simplified representation illustrating the backbone conformation, colored by secondary structure. Right: Solvent-accessible surface representation colored by residue type (acidic residues red, basic residues blue, polar residues green, nonpolar residues white).
Molecular surface of several proteins showing their comparative sizes. From left to right are: immunoglobulin G (IgG, an antibody), hemoglobin, insulin (a hormone), adenylate kinase (an enzyme), and glutamine synthetase (an enzyme).
The enzyme hexokinase is shown as a conventional ball-and-stick molecular model. To scale in the top right-hand corner are two of its substrates, ATP and glucose.
Ribbon diagram of a mouse antibody against cholera that binds a carbohydrate antigen
Proteins in different cellular compartments and structures tagged with green fluorescent protein (here, white)
Constituent amino-acids can be analyzed to predict secondary, tertiary and quaternary protein structure, in this case hemoglobin containing heme units

The mRNA is loaded onto the ribosome and is read three nucleotides at a time by matching each codon to its base pairing anticodon located on a transfer RNA molecule, which carries the amino acid corresponding to the codon it recognizes.

A hairpin loop from a pre-mRNA. Highlighted are the nucleobases (green) and the ribose-phosphate backbone (blue). This is a single strand of RNA that folds back upon itself.

RNA

Polymeric molecule essential in various biological roles in coding, decoding, regulation and expression of genes.

Polymeric molecule essential in various biological roles in coding, decoding, regulation and expression of genes.

A hairpin loop from a pre-mRNA. Highlighted are the nucleobases (green) and the ribose-phosphate backbone (blue). This is a single strand of RNA that folds back upon itself.
Three-dimensional representation of the 50S ribosomal subunit. Ribosomal RNA is in ochre, proteins in blue. The active site is a small segment of rRNA, indicated in red.
Watson-Crick base pairs in a siRNA (hydrogen atoms are not shown)
Structure of a fragment of an RNA, showing a guanosyl subunit.
Secondary structure of a telomerase RNA.
Structure of a hammerhead ribozyme, a ribozyme that cuts RNA
Uridine to pseudouridine is a common RNA modification.
Double-stranded RNA
Robert W. Holley, left, poses with his research team.

This process uses transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules to deliver amino acids to the ribosome, where ribosomal RNA (rRNA) then links amino acids together to form coded proteins.

This antisense-based process involves steps that first process the RNA so that it can base-pair with a region of its target mRNAs.

Gregor Mendel

Gene

Basic unit of heredity and a sequence of nucleotides in DNA that encodes the synthesis of a gene product, either RNA or protein.

Basic unit of heredity and a sequence of nucleotides in DNA that encodes the synthesis of a gene product, either RNA or protein.

Gregor Mendel
Fluorescent microscopy image of a human female karyotype, showing 23 pairs of chromosomes. The DNA is stained red, with regions rich in housekeeping genes further stained in green. The largest chromosomes are around 10 times the size of the smallest.
Schematic of a single-stranded RNA molecule illustrating a series of three-base codons. Each three-nucleotide codon corresponds to an amino acid when translated to protein
Protein coding genes are transcribed to an mRNA intermediate, then translated to a functional protein. RNA-coding genes are transcribed to a functional non-coding RNA.
Inheritance of a gene that has two different alleles (blue and white). The gene is located on an autosomal chromosome. The white allele is recessive to the blue allele. The probability of each outcome in the children's generation is one quarter, or 25 percent.
A sequence alignment, produced by ClustalO, of mammalian histone proteins
Evolutionary fate of duplicate genes.
Depiction of numbers of genes for representative plants (green), vertebrates (blue), invertebrates (orange), fungi (yellow), bacteria (purple), and viruses (grey). An inset on the right shows the smaller genomes expanded 100-fold area-wise.
Gene functions in the minimal genome of the synthetic organism, Syn 3.
Comparison of conventional plant breeding with transgenic and cisgenic genetic modification.

Two chains of DNA twist around each other to form a DNA double helix with the phosphate-sugar backbone spiraling around the outside, and the bases pointing inwards with adenine base pairing to thymine and guanine to cytosine.

The genetic code is read three nucleotides at a time, in units called codons, via interactions with specialized RNA molecules called transfer RNA (tRNA).

Wobble base pairs for inosine and guanine

Wobble base pair

Wobble base pairs for inosine and guanine

A wobble base pair is a pairing between two nucleotides in RNA molecules that does not follow Watson-Crick base pair rules.

For translation, each of these codons requires a tRNA molecule with an anticodon with which it can stably complement.

Simplified diagram of mRNA synthesis and processing. Enzymes not shown.

Transcription (biology)

Process of copying a segment of DNA into RNA.

Process of copying a segment of DNA into RNA.

Simplified diagram of mRNA synthesis and processing. Enzymes not shown.
Regulation of transcription in mammals. An active enhancer regulatory region of DNA is enabled to interact with the promoter DNA region of its target gene by formation of a chromosome loop. This can initiate messenger RNA (mRNA) synthesis by RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) bound to the promoter at the transcription start site of the gene.  The loop is stabilized by one architectural protein anchored to the enhancer and one anchored to the promoter and these proteins are joined to form a dimer (red zigzags).  Specific regulatory transcription factors bind to DNA sequence motifs on the enhancer.  General transcription factors bind to the promoter.  When a transcription factor is activated by a signal (here indicated as phosphorylation shown by a small red star on a transcription factor on the enhancer) the enhancer is activated and can now activate its target promoter.  The active enhancer is transcribed on each strand of DNA in opposite directions by bound RNAP IIs.  Mediator (a complex consisting of about 26 proteins in an interacting structure) communicates regulatory signals from the enhancer DNA-bound transcription factors to the promoter.
This shows where the methyl group is added when 5-methylcytosine is formed
Simple diagram of transcription elongation
Image showing RNA polymerase interacting with different factors and DNA during transcription, especially CTD (C Terminal Domain)
The Image shows how CTD is carrying protein for further changes in the RNA
Electron micrograph of transcription of ribosomal RNA. The forming ribosomal RNA strands are visible as branches from the main DNA strand.
Scheme of reverse transcription

Both DNA and RNA are nucleic acids, which use base pairs of nucleotides as a complementary language.

Other stretches of DNA may be transcribed into small non-coding RNAs such as microRNA, transfer RNA (tRNA), small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA), small nuclear RNA (snRNA), or enzymatic RNA molecules called ribozymes as well as larger non-coding RNAs such as ribosomal RNA (rRNA), and long non-coding RNA (lncRNA).