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Chapter 8 : Expression of Genetic Information

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Expression of Genetic Information, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

This chapter presents lessons where students act out transcription and translation, either at their desks with paper models or by assuming roles and moving around the room. This activity also makes a good lead-in to a discussion of the various means of gene regulation. The chapter also includes an advanced Student Activity about RNA interference (RNAi) and antisense RNA. Background for it follows the material on gene regulation. DNA determines the characteristics of an organism by specifying the amino acid sequences (and therefore the structures and functions) of its proteins. In order to direct the synthesis of a protein, the DNA must contain not only codons for each of the amino acids in that protein, but also regulatory sequences that tell the cell’s proteinsynthesizing machinery where to start and stop. Although prokaryotes and eukaryotes use the same genetic code, they have evolved different regulatory signals. The genetic traffic signals involved in converting DNA sequences into proteins (in prokaryotes) are summarized. It appears that there are at least three mechanisms: one for transfer RNA (tRNA), one for mRNA, and one for rRNA. Most of the discussion is related to a form of the activity in which students act out transcription and translation by moving around the classroom. To move the coding information to the ribosome for translation, the cell makes an mRNA copy. The chapter also presents answers to student questions and other ideas for teaching transcription and translation.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Expression of Genetic Information, p 187-205. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch8

Key Concept Ranking

Gene Expression and Regulation
0.9356849
Outer Membrane Proteins
0.47139654
Small Interfering RNA
0.44193423
0.9356849
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Figures

Image of Figure 8.1
Figure 8.1

Major genetic traffic signals in bacteria. These signals tell RNA polymerase where to begin and end transcription, enable the ribosome to recognize mRNA, and direct the ribosome to start and stop protein synthesis.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Expression of Genetic Information, p 187-205. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch8
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Image of Figure 8.2
Figure 8.2

Splicing of precursor RNA to produce mRNA. The DNA exons contain the coding sequence for the protein.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Expression of Genetic Information, p 187-205. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch8
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Image of Figure 8.3
Figure 8.3

Sample DNA sequence lineups for transcription. The splice junctions and splicing step are optional. DSC, DNA sequence card with any three bases; TAC, encoding DNA card with TAC base sequence (the corresponding coding card is ATG); . . ., any number of DNA sequence cards; stop, the stop codon.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Expression of Genetic Information, p 187-205. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch8
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Image of Figure 8.4
Figure 8.4

DNA/mRNA sequence matches.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Expression of Genetic Information, p 187-205. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch8
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Image of Figure 8.5
Figure 8.5

mRNA, tRNA, and amino acid matches. The two codons with no tRNA are unpaired because they come before the start codon and after the stop codon. If these codons were between the start and stop translation signals, they would be paired with GGC/Pro and CCG/Gly, respectively.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Expression of Genetic Information, p 187-205. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch8
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Image of Figure 8.6
Figure 8.6

Diagram answer to question 7. The noncoding DNA and tRNA sequences are identical, except that tRNA contains uracil instead of thymine. For the amino acid abbreviations, see Table 8.1. C, coding strand; NC, noncoding strand.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Expression of Genetic Information, p 187-205. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch8
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Image of Figure 8.7
Figure 8.7

Answer to question 8. For the amino acid abbreviations, see Table 8.1. C, coding strand; NC, noncoding strand.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Expression of Genetic Information, p 187-205. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch8
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Untitled

How RNAi works. A dsRNA molecule is clipped into short siRNAs by the Dicer enzyme. The strands of the siRNAs are separated by a protein complex that includes an RNA cleaving molecule, and the protein-RNA complex scans cellular mRNA. When an mRNA molecule with a complementary sequence is found, the small RNA hybridizes to it, triggering cleavage of the target mRNA.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Expression of Genetic Information, p 187-205. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch8
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References

/content/book/10.1128/9781555816100.chap8a
1. Antebi, A. 2005. The tick-tock of aging? Science 310:19111912.
2. Gibbs, W. 2003. The unseen genome: gems among the junk. Scientific American 289:2633.
3. Hammond, S. M.,, A. A. Caudy,, and G. J. Hannon. 2001. Post-transcriptional gene silencing by double-stranded RNA. Nature Reviews Genetics 2:110119.
4. Lau, N.,, and D. Bartel. 2003. Censors of the genome. Scientific American 289:3441.
5. Stix, G. 2004. Hitting the genetic off switch. Scientific American 291:91101.
6. Zamore, D. Z. 2002. Ancient pathways programmed by small RNAs. Science 296:12651269.

Tables

Generic image for table
Table 8.1

Amino acid abbreviations

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Expression of Genetic Information, p 187-205. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch8
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Untitled

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Expression of Genetic Information, p 187-205. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch8
Generic image for table
Untitled

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Expression of Genetic Information, p 187-205. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816100.ch8

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