AAT Bioquest

How does mRNA, tRNA and rRNA work together?

Posted February 20, 2023


In protein synthesis, every step is crucial in order to ensure the genetic material is being synthesized properly. Thus, it is important for mRNA, tRNA, and rRNA to work together as each play their own role in protein synthesis. mRNA carries the coding sequences for protein synthesis known as transcripts; each mRNA molecule regulates the order in which amino acids should be added during protein synthesis. rRNA molecules create the core of a cell’s ribosomes. tRNA molecules carry the amino acids to those ribosomes during protein synthesis. 

mRNA (which is single stranded) is the most variable type of RNA, and there are thousands of distinct mRNA molecules within cells at any time. Each amino acid is characterized by a 3 nucleotide sequence (codon) along the mRNA molecule. tRNA molecules are responsible for matching amino acids with the right codons in mRNA. Each tRNA molecule has two different ends, one that binds to a unique amino acid and one that binds to the appropriate mRNA codon. In translation, tRNAs transport amino acids to the ribosome that bind with their complementary codons. The assembled amino acids are then joined as the ribosome moves across the mRNA molecule. The result is the creation of protein chains that can range in hundreds of amino acids in length.   

Additional resources

Interaction of rRNA with mRNA and tRNA in Translating Mammalian Ribosome: Functional Implications in Health and Disease

DNA and RNA Quantitation

Portelite™ Fluorimetric RNA Quantitation Kit*Optimized for Cytocite™ and Qubit™ Fluorometers*

Transfectamine™ mRNA Transfection Reagent