The central dogma of molecular biology describes the flow of information from DNA through RNA into proteins. This flow of information is called gene expression. It occurs through two main processes: transcription and translation. Transcription is the synthesis of an RNA molecule that contains the coding sequence of a gene. Translation follows transcription and in which the amino acid sequence of a gene is synthesized based on the coding sequence in mRNA.
Key Areas Covered
Key Terms: Central Dogma of Molecular Biology, DNA, Proteins, RNA, Transcription, Translation
What is the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology
The central dogma of molecular biology describes the process by which the information in genes flows into proteins: DNA → RNA → protein. DNA contains genes that code for proteins. RNA is the intermediate between DNA and proteins. It carries information in genes from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in eukaryotes. Proteins are the determinants of the structure and the function of a particular cell. A protein is composed of an amino acid sequence, which is the coding sequence of a gene. Gene expression is the process of synthesizing proteins based on the instructions in genes. The two steps of gene expression are transcription and translation.
What are Unusual Flows of Information
In addition to the universal flow of information from DNA to RNA to proteins, some alternative mechanisms occur in different types of organisms. Reverse transcription, RNA replication, and Direct translation of DNA into proteins are three such unusual flows of information.
Transferring the information of RNA into DNA occurs during the reverse transcription process. It mainly occurs in retroviruses such as HIV. Also, reverse transcription occurs in retrotransposons and during telomere synthesis in eukaryotes. After reverse transcription, the information flow as usual from cDNA to RNA to Proteins.
Copying of the RNA information into another RNA happens during the RNA replication process. The enzyme involved in RNA replication is RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. It occurs during RNA silencing and RNA editing in eukaryotes.
Eukaryotic ribosomes can synthesize proteins from single-stranded DNA in vitro. Figure 2 shows the three types of unusual flow of information in green arrows.
The central dogma of molecular biology describes the flow of information from DNA to RNA to proteins. Proteins synthesis is the mechanism of gene expression. It occurs through the transcription of DNA into RNA and translation of RNA into proteins.
1. “4.1 Central Dogma of Molecular Biology.” CK-12 Foundation, Available here.
1. “Central Dogma of Molecular Biochemistry with Enzymes” By Dhorspool at en.wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Extended Central Dogma with Enzymes” By User:Dhorspool (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia