RNA and proteins are two biological molecules which are dependent upon each other and play a role in controlling the functions of an organism. Furthermore, gene expression is controlled by RNA and proteins.
Essentially, RNA holds the information which is encoded within DNA and allows this information to be transcribed. Structurally, RNA and DNA differ. For one, RNA is made up of ribose sugars, instead of deoxyribose sugar, which is the sugar contained in the nucleosides of DNA strands. Secondly, the nucleotide thymine is not present in RNA strands and is replaced by another nucleotide called uracil. The last major difference is that RNA molecules are single-stranded.
There are also different types of RNA which are required during different processes. This includes:
- mRNA (Messenger RNA): This RNA is made during the process of transcription.
- tRNA (Transfer RNA): This RNA is required for the process of translation and allows for protein production.
- rRNA (Ribosomal RNA): This RNA is needed for the production of ribosomes which have many critical roles, such as being part of protein synthesis.
- siRNA (Small interfering RNA): This is double stranded RNA and has multiple functions such as playing a role in post-transcriptional gene silencing.
Proteins are biological molecules which are composed of amino acids, which are encoded by RNA. The process of translation is responsible for protein synthesis which requires mRNA because it carries the information regarding which tRNA molecules are required to build the protein. tRNA molecules carry the amino acids needed to synthesize proteins. These proteins play a myriad of roles which include, but are not limited to catalyzing biochemical reactions, allowing for different metabolic processes and acting as machinery in cells.
RNA and proteins, along with DNA, are absolutely fundamental for all life forms. Without these three biological macromolecules life would cease to exist.