AAT Bioquest

How does the ribosome work?

Posted December 12, 2022


Ribosomes function by binding to a mRNA molecule and then decoding the information within the nucleotide sequence of the mRNA. The ribosome translates each codon of the mRNA template and matches it with the correct amino acid; this process is translation. The amino acid uses a tRNA molecule to assist in the process. Each newly translated amino acid is then added to the protein chain until the ribosome finishes the process of protein synthesis.

In a structural sense (for eukaryotes), ribosomes begin in the nucleolus, where ribosomal RNA is synthesized and bound there. They are then exported to generate ribosomes. Ribosomes are also located in endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which they attach to and become fixed ribosomes. Proteins are made in the rough ER and transported through the smooth ER to become part of the cell membrane or other products for cell consumption. In prokaryotes, transcription and translation occur in the cytoplasm since those cells don't have any membrane bound organelles; transcription and translation occur alongside each other as one step. On the other hand, in eukaryotes transcription and translation are separate steps.  

Additional resources


Transfectamine™ mRNA Transfection Reagent

ReadiLink™ Cy5 Nick Translation dsDNA Labeling Kit

Cell Navigator® Live Cell Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) Staining Kit *Green Fluorescence*