Amateur Questions on How Cells 'Read' DNA

In summary, DNA is the blueprint for the cell, and the cell needs to translate RNA into proteins in order to control the cell. If there is a change in the genetic code, such as a stop codon, a suppressor mutation can occur that changes the anticodon part of the tRNA, allowing the cell to use an unnatural tRNA.
  • #1
Smurf
442
3
So, if DNA is supposed to be the code, or language by which our body, or our cells figure out what to do where and such. I guess I'm asking how do the cells know what the DNA is saying to them? What chemical stuff is going on that let's them 'read' the DNA and act appropriately. And wouldn't they need something to read to exist to tell them how to read the DNA first?
 
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  • #2
A better analogy would be that DNA is the blueprint for the cell. First the cell needs to transcript the information from DNA to RNA which done by a specific enzyme (RNA polymerase). This is done because proteins are reacting to a signal which will than create chai reaction that to protein binding to specific DNA region. This regulates transcription (on/off).

The cell machinery recognize RNA as the element that dictates how proteins should be made. RNA is translate to protein by ribosomal RNA. Once proteins are made, they can dictate on the cell behave. Proteins are controlling the cell behavior not DNA.
 
  • #3
smurf, i think that maybe the piece your are missing is the tRNA. each tRNA recognizes the mRNA codon and matches it to a bound amino acid.

whats interesting is that the tRNA also comes from the genetic code. even more interesting are suppressor mutations, where if a single base is changed in a gene (for instance, causing the placement of stop codon instead of an amino acid, which would be disasterous for the cell) the corresponding sequence that encodes for the tRNA of that original amino acid can also undergo a mutation that changes the anticodon part of the tRNA to set things back again! thus unnatural tRNAs that "violate" the universality of the genetic code can exist as a survival mechanism.
 

Related to Amateur Questions on How Cells 'Read' DNA

1. How do cells 'read' DNA?

Cells use a process called transcription to read DNA. This involves an enzyme called RNA polymerase binding to a specific section of DNA and creating a copy of the genetic information in the form of RNA.

2. Can cells read DNA in any direction?

Yes, cells can read DNA in both directions. However, the direction in which they read DNA is determined by the specific sequence of nucleotides in the DNA strand.

3. What is the purpose of cells 'reading' DNA?

The purpose of cells 'reading' DNA is to transcribe the genetic information into RNA, which is then used to create proteins. Proteins are essential for the structure and function of cells, making DNA reading crucial for cell survival and functioning.

4. How does the process of DNA 'reading' differ in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells?

In prokaryotic cells, DNA 'reading' occurs in the cytoplasm, while in eukaryotic cells, it occurs in the nucleus. Additionally, prokaryotic cells do not have a defined nucleus, so the process is simpler and more direct compared to eukaryotic cells.

5. Can DNA 'reading' be affected by mutations?

Yes, mutations in DNA can affect the process of 'reading' and transcribing genetic information. Mutations can cause errors in the transcription process, leading to changes in the resulting RNA and potentially impacting protein production.

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