DNA Replication and Gene Expression (151

1) DNA replication - How does DNA replicate during mitosis and meiosis? - first DNA has to be unpacked from its compact chromatin - second, the complementary strands have to be separated from each other - also referred to as DNA unzipping - the enzyme DNA helicase carries out this process - hydrogen bonds break fairly easily, so strands can separate - produces two complementary daughter strands - the physical point of the double strand separation is called the replication fork - enzymes then synthesize new complementary DNA strands for each separated half of the original - this enzyme is called DNA polymerase 2) Genes and Expression - What are genes? - units of hereditary information - regions of DNA that contains codes for the production of specific proteins - the DNA code can be converted into an amino acid sequence for a given protein (polypeptide) to be synthesized - called the one gene-one polypeptide theory - however, DNA is in the nucleus and proteins are made in the ribosomes - Is all DNA in chromosomes made of genes? - there is a certain percentage of DNA that is considered non-coding - perhaps surprisingly, the more “complex” the organism is, the more DNA seems to be non-coding and “extraneous” - the size of genomes of organisms is also not a good indicator of the complexity of the organism - How is DNA information converted to synthesis of a polypeptide? - DNA code must first be brought to the ribosome - messenger RNA (mRNA) carries the code - the process of copying the gene codes in a strand of mRNA is called transcription - How does RNA differ from DNA? - RNA differs from DNA in three important respects a) RNA is single stranded

b) RNA contains ribose instead of deoxyribose (in DNA) c) RNA contains uracil in the place of thymine - How is mRNA made? - transcription occurs in a fashion very similar to DNA replication - the enzyme RNA polymerase synthesizes a strand of RNA using one strand of the DNA as a template - the RNA is single-stranded, and is complementary to the copied DNA strand - therefore, mRNA resembles the DNA strand NOT copied (the complement), except for the presence of U instead of T - DNA strand that serves as the template is called the template strand - the non-transcribed strand is referred to as the coding strand - How does the RNA polymerase find the genes on the DNA? - special DNA sequences called promoters act as start sites for RNA polymerase - promoters can also control where in the organism and how much mRNA is manufactured - termination sequences in the gene code (terminators) stop transcription - some mRNA can be further processed after transcription - eukaryotic mRNA molecules have a cap and a tail of additional sequence added - these can help the cell recognize this molecule as a mRNA - certain regions called introns are cut out - they are not part of the correct amino acid sequence - remaining regions that are used are called exons - How are proteins made from mRNA - mRNA moves through the nuclear pores in the envelope to the ribosomes located in the cytoplasm - the process of synthesizing proteins from mRNA is called translation - the genetic code is being translated - mRNA interacts with the ribosome - ribosomes are made of proteins themselves, as well as special RNA molecules called ribosomal RNA (rRNA) - the mRNA is made up of 3-base pair sequences called codons that code for one of the twenty different amino acids - the first codon is always for the amino acid methionine - this is also called the start codon (AUG) - certain RNA molecules can recognize the different mRNA codons - called transfer RNA (tRNA) - region of tRNA that recognizes the mRNA codon is called an

anticodon - anticodon is complementary to the codon - tRNA also has the correct amino acid for that codon attached - the tRNA bound to methionine matches up with the first codon and then binds to the P site on the ribosome - called the initiation step - subsequent tRNAs matching the following codons bind to the ribosome, moving the previous tRNA into the A ribosome site - two tRNAs bind at a time - called elongation steps - stop codons on the mRNA sequence result in binding of release factors - polypeptide chain is released from the RNA-ribosome complex - the sequence of events of protein synthesis is called the Central Dogma - DNA  RNA  protein 3) Mutation - What if there is an error in the original code? - since the DNA code determines the protein amino acid sequence, changes in the original code can result in translation changes in the protein - these changes in DNA are called mutations - diploid organisms are more likely to survive detrimental mutations since they should have another working copy - but they could pass the gene on to future generations - Are replication errors the only way mutations can occur? - no, any physical damage to DNA can cause a mutation - chemicals that can induce mutations are called mutagens - What are some different types of mutations? - point mutations are changes in a single pre-existing nucleotide - the mismatch may be corrected by removing the “original” base - frameshift mutations cause a shift in the DNA sequence - these are often due to insertions or deletions of one or several nucleotides - these types of mutations can change the reading frame of the gene - such mutations are more likely to have a large impact on gene expression - What is the common impact of mutations? - since mutations often change the order and/or type of amino acids in a polypeptide chain, they result in a different structure - a change in structure leads to a change in function, typically a loss in the function that enzyme was supposed to accomplish

- losing that function often has a negative impact - whatever that protein was supposed to be doing it can’t do anymore - this can manifest itself as a disease - Can mutations ever be beneficial? - in rare circumstances, yes - if the protein is not lethal, and the change in function leads to a greater ability to survive and reproduce - mutation is essential for driving evolution 4) Gene Regulation - Not all genes are on at the same time - this would be a waste of resources and energy to make these proteins - some proteins are only needed in certain locations and at certain times - How is gene expression regulated? - special DNA sequences can control expression of genes - examples are promoters - certain proteins called transcription factors can regulate mRNA production - also, proteins themselves can be turned on and off

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