Tuesday, March 14, 2006

RNA assignment again it's science but i like it :-)

People are so fussy. We complain about everything. We are so hard to satisfy. We spend lifetimes trying to figure ourselves out. But what makes up the physical us – our cells – they are quite different. They don’t fuss half as much. If they did, we’d end up as biological disasters!

One such unfussy character in our body is Ribonucleic Acid – nickname – RNA. RNA is one of those crucial but sometimes overlooked stunt doubles. Without them, the whole show would flop.

Antibodies - the soldiers who fight diseases, hormones – the growth regulators and enzymes - our body’s biochemical catalysts. These are all needed to keep our body clocks ticking on time. They are all made of protein – our cells’ bread and butter. RNA helps produce our daily bread. This is the aim of the show.

Consider one cell to be a house. It has the necessary furniture like mitochondria – the cell’s power house and ribosomes – the work rooms where protein is built from a set of genetic instructions. The nucleus is the living room and our centre stage. This is where Deoxyribonucleic Acid – nickname DNA, plays her lead role of concocting our individuality through genes.

But our fussy protagonist cannot brave the perils of the rest of the house and is confined to the living room (with attached bathroom of course). So RNA restructures herself to become an exact stunt double of DNA. This way the precious, unique… (Well almost) genetic information that DNA contains can reach the outside world. Now RNA can move past the membranous walls of the living room (nucleus) and into the rest of the house with its ‘work rooms,’ especially the ribosomes. RNA transforms into DNA’s double through a process called transcription.

How does she do this? She wears a ‘nucleotide’ cap. She also carries a special enzyme to prolong her life enough to complete her mission. She also sheds her extra baggage – ‘non-coding sequences’, through a process called ‘splicing’ and matures into messenger RNA (mRNA).

The nucleus has a double wall. The only door to the surrounding wild world of cytoplasm (the rest of the house) is through the nuclear pore complex (NPC). So, mRNA gets a protein name tag which is her gate pass out of the nucleus.

This is the final step to the final goal – proteins. A specialized protein molecule called transfer RNA (tRNA) plays the role of translator. He matches mRNA to the right corresponding protein. The cell's protein-making factory - ribosomes take the play to a grand finale. He decodes mRNA and translates her disguise into protein. Proteins are now built based upon the code in the RNA.

The show is now over and the applause has finally died down. DNA takes her final bow and waves to the crowd. She got bored sitting pretty on the couch in the living room. So much like real life. The stunt double did all the action packed stuff and the star got all the roses.