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Translation (Advanced Detail)
This animation shows the translation of messenger RNA into protein and details the interactions between the transfer RNA molecules and the ribosome.
The ribosome is a molecular factory that translates the genetic information in messenger RNA (mRNA) into a string of amino acids (a polypeptide chain) that becomes a protein. The ribosome assembles around mRNA. Inside the ribosome, the nucleotide sequence of the mRNA is read three nucleotides at a time by transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules. When the three-nucleotide “code” of the mRNA, which is called a codon, matches a three-nucleotide code in the tRNA, which is called the anticodon, the tRNA binds and the amino acid carried by that particular tRNA is added to the growing polypeptide chain. The addition of each amino acid is a three-step cycle in which tRNA molecules interact with the ribosome at different sites. The polypeptide chain then folds into the three-dimensional structure of the protein.
This animation shows the translation process in three-dimensional detail, using the production of the hemoglobin protein as an example. Depending on students’ backgrounds, it may be helpful to pause the animation at various points to identify the molecules and describe their interactions.
amino acid, anticodon, central dogma, codon, gene expression, hemoglobin, mRNA, nucleic acid, protein, ribosome, tRNA
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Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
AP Biology (2019)
IB Biology (2016)
Vision and Change (2009)