AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between eukaryotic transcription and prokaryotic transcription?

Posted January 6, 2023


Basis of differentiation

Eukaryotic transcription

Prokaryotic transcription


Eukaryotic transcription occurs in the cell nucleus

Prokaryotic transcription occurs in the cell cytoplasm

Mechanism of transcription

A pre-mRNA molecule is formed and processed to yield a mature mRNA

mRNA is transcribed directly from the template DNA molecule 

Number of RNA polymerase subunits

RNA polymerase has 10-17 subunits

RNA polymerase has 5 subunits

Occurance of transcription and translation

Transcription occurs in nucleus, and translation occurs outside the nucleus at different times  

Prokaryotic transcription and translation occur simultaneously in cytoplasm

Produced mRNA

Are monocistronic

Are polycistronic

Post transcriptional modifications

Occurs during eukaryotic transcription 

Do not occur

Transcriptional factors

Requires transcriptional factors to bind RNA polymerase to promoter 

Requires a sigma factor to bind to promoter

RHO factor

Eukaryotes do not need RHO factors 

Termination of transcription requires a RHO factor

Additional resources

Prokaryotic Transcription and Translation Are Coupled

DNA and RNA Quantitation

Transfectamine™ 5000 Transfection Reagent

Helixyte™ Green *10,000X Aqueous PCR Solution*