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Difference Between mRNA, tRNA And rRNA

Difference Between mRNA, tRNA And rRNA

Distinct types of RNA molecules exist within our cells that are important for the production of proteins. Three specific forms of RNA are mRNA, tRNA and rRNA, which work together to guarantee proteins are appropriately synthesised. 

Table of Contents

  • What is mRNA?
  • What is tRNA?
  • What is rRNA?
  • Key differences
  • Practice Problems
  • Frequently Asked Questions

What is mRNA?

Messenger RNA, popularly called mRNA molecules, transport a gene transcript from the nucleus to ribosomes. The transcript encodes specific functional proteins. mRNA is formed in a process called transcription. Transcription involves an enzyme known as RNA polymerase. In eukaryotic organisms, post-transcriptional modifications are used to transform pre-mRNA molecules into mature RNA molecules. 

Pre-processing of mRNA involves a 5’ cap, polyadenylation and editing. A 7’ cap is attached to the 5’ cap end’s front. mRNA sequence can be changed through sequence editing. To avoid exonuclease degradation, the 3’ end of the mRNA molecule has a poly(A) tail which consists of about 250 adenosine residues.

Several exon combinations are spliced to create several types of proteins from single pre-RNA molecules. The technique of splicing is called Alternate splicing. Only one type of protein can be formed after translation by prokaryotic mRNA.

What is tRNA?

Transfer RNA, also called tRNA, is soluble in water. During protein synthesis, tRNA transport specific amino acids for coding to the building polypeptide chain end. Each amino acid possesses specific tRNA. It means tRNA anticodons read each codon in the mRNA molecules to transfer the particular amino acid to the ribosome. tRNA consists of about 76 to 90 RNA nucleotides, thus making it a type of major RNA. 

Secondary structure of tRNA.portrays a cloverleaf structure composed of four types of loop structures, i.e., D-loops, variable loops, anticodon loops, and T-loops. In mRNA molecules, the complement codon is scanned by a single anticodon which composes the anticodon loops. An acceptor stem with a 5’ terminal phosphate group is another component of tRNA molecules. The amino acid is filled into the CCA tail at the end of the acceptor stem. Additionally, certain anticodons can form base pairs with multiple codons through a technique called wobble base pairing.

What is rRNA?

Ribosomal RNA, specifically called rRNA, generates ribosomes together with ribosomal proteins. They are the type of major RNA that transforms mRNA molecules’ coding sequence into the polypeptide chain. The synthesis takes place in the nucleolus, where rRNA molecules are synthesised into two forms, i.e., small and large rRNA. Both the RNA molecules and ribosomal proteins are combined together to create a small and large subunit. The large subunit of rRNA is the ribozyme that facilitates the formation of peptide bonds.

Furthermore, the larger and smaller subunits join together to form ribosomes. Both types form sandwich structures with mRNA molecules in between. For tRNA molecules, each ribosome comprises three bonding sites, categorised as A, P, and E sites. Aminoacyl-tRNA consists of specific amino acids and interacts at the A site. It is further attached to the growing polypeptide chain at the P site and continues movement to the E site.

Key differences




It possesses a linear structure.

It shows a cloverleaf shape.

It is spherical, possessing a complex structure.

It is about 300 to 12 thousand nucleotides long.

It is about 76 to 90 nucleotides long.

There are distinct rRNA in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. For example, 5s, 16s, 23s and 5s, 5.8s, 18s and 28s in distinct ribosomal subunits.

Synthesis takes place in the nucleus.

It is created in the cytoplasm.

It is discovered in ribosomes.

It delivers template or genetic information encoded in DNA for protein synthesis.

It transfers particular amino acids to ribosomes for the synthesis of protein.

rRNA eases the ribosome association.

For translation, mRNA transfers codons.

tRNA transfer anticodons, each specific to particular amino acids.

Both anticodons and codons are not present.

Practice Problems

Q1. mRNA is elaborated as

A. Messenger RNA
B. Master RNA
C. m-translational RNA
D. None of the above

Answer: A. Messenger RNA

Messenger RNA is a brief term for mRNA, a type of major RNA. 

Q2. tRNA carries

A. Specific amino acids to ribosomes
B. Amino acids to 18s ribosomes
C. Anticodon to ribosomes
D. Codons to ribosomes
Answer: A. Specific amino acids to ribosomes.

Transfer RNA, as named, transfers the specific amino acids to the ribosomes from synthesising proteins.

Q3. D-loop has

A. Pseudouridine
B. Dihydrouridine
C. All of the above
D. None of the above

Answer: B. Dihydrouridine

D-loop in transfer RNA possesses Dihydrouridine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is ribosome essential for protein synthesis?
Ribosomes that translate the genetic code produced in mRNA into an amino acid sequence are fundamentally tasked with synthesising proteins.

Q2. Can protein be synthesised artificially in laboratories?
Thanks to the prodigious advancement in peptide synthesis, chemical synthesis of protein can be done easily nowadays.

Q3. Is it important to learn about the central dogma of NEET?
Answer: . The building process of protein is studied in central dogma, covering each step along with transcription and translational processes, making it an important concept to understand for NEET examination. It has been potentially asked several times.

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