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- RNA and Protein Synthesis Gizmo Answers Key (Student Exploration)
- About RNA
- About Protein Synthesis
RNA and Protein Synthesis Gizmo Answers Key (Student Exploration)
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Vocabulary: amino acid, anticodon, codon, gene, messenger RNA, nucleotide, ribosome, RNA, RNA
polymerase, transcription, transfer RNA, translation
Prior Knowledge Questions & Answers (Do these BEFORE using the Gizmo)
Q.1. Suppose you want to design and build a house. How would you communicate your design
plans with the construction crew that would work on the house?
Ans: Create a blueprint to make work easier
Q.2. Cells build large, complicated molecules, such as proteins. What do you think cells use as their “design
plans” for proteins?
Ans: Cells use DNA as their “design plans” for proteins
RNA and Protein Synthesis Gizmo Warm-Up Questions & Answers
Just as a construction crew uses blueprints to build a house, a cell uses DNA as plans for building proteins. In addition to DNA, another nucleic acid, called RNA, is involved in making proteins. In the RNA and Protein Synthesis Gizmo, you will use both DNA and RNA to construct a protein out of amino acids.
Q.1. DNA is composed of the bases adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). RNA is composed of adenine, cytosine, guanine, and uracil (U). Look at the SIMULATION pane. Is the displayed segment a part of a DNA or RNA molecule? How do you know?
Ans: It is DNA due to the bases being (A) – (T) and (G) – (C)
Q.2. RNA polymerase is a type of enzyme. Enzymes help chemical reactions occur quickly.
Click the Release enzyme button, and describe what happens.
Ans: When you click the release enzyme button then its splits the DNA.
Gizmo RNA and Protein Synthesis Answers – Activity A
Introduction: The first stage of building a protein involves a process known as transcription. In transcription, a segment of DNA serves as a template to produce a complementary strand of RNA. This complementary strand is called messenger RNA, or mRNA.
Question: What occurs during transcription?
Q.1. Experiment: Like DNA, RNA follows base-pairing rules. Experiment to find which RNA nucleotide on the right side of the Gizmo will successfully pair with the thymine at the top of the template strand of DNA. (NOTE: The DNA on the right side is the template strand.) Which RNA base bonded with the thymine?
Q.2. Experiment: The next three bases on the DNA template strand are adenine, cytosine, and
guanine. Use the Gizmo to answer the following questions:
A. Which RNA base bonds with adenine?… Ans: Uracil
B. Which RNA base bonds with cytosine?… Ans: Guanine
C. Which RNA base bonds with guanine?… Ans: Cytosine
Q.3. Observe: In molecules of RNA, uracil takes the place of the DNA base
Q.4. Build: Continue building the strand of mRNA until you have used all of the RNA nucleotides.
What is the nucleotide sequence of the mRNA strand you built?
Ans: AUGCUGACCUAG (That it goes into 7 strands)
Q.5. Apply: Suppose a template strand of DNA had the following sequence: T A C G G A T A A C T A C C G G G T A T T C A A. What would be the complementary strand of mRNA?
Ans: AUG CCU AUU GAU GGC CCA UAA GUU
Q.6. Predict: How would a change to the sequence of nucleotides in a DNA segment affect the
mRNA transcribed from the DNA?
Ans: By changing the complementary strand and the template strand a different protein would have been formed
Gizmo RNA and Protein Synthesis Answers – Activity B
Introduction: After a strand of mRNA has been built, the strand exits the cell’s nucleus. The second stage of protein synthesis, called translation, occurs next. During translation, the strand of mRNA is used to build a chain of amino acids.
Question: What occurs during translation?
Q.1. Observe: Examine the strand of mRNA on the SIMULATION pane. Every group of three bases of mRNA is called a codon.
In the table on right, list the nitrogen bases in each codon. (Hint: Start from the top of the strand and read down.) The first mRNA codon is called the universal start codon.
Q.2. Predict: Translation starts when a ribosome (the purple structure on the SIMULATION pane) binds to a strand of mRNA. Transfer RNA, or tRNA, begins bringing amino acids into the ribosome. Each tRNA molecule carries only one kind of amino acid. This amino acid is determined by the tRNA’s anticodon, a set of three unpaired bases.
Which anticodon do you think would attach to the mRNA’s start codon?
Q.3. Observe: Place the next two tRNA molecules on the mRNA strand. What happens?
Ans: The amino acids shifted to the next tRNA molecule.
Q.4. Describe: UAG (as well as UAA and UGA) is an example of a stop codon. Molecules called release factors bind to stop codons. Place the release factor on the mRNA molecule. What happens?
Ans: Molecules go away but protein is produced
Click Continue. Your protein is now complete. Most actual proteins consist of sequences of
hundreds of amino acids.
Q.5. Infer: Why do you think stopping and starting codon signals that are necessary for protein synthesis?
Ans: Start codon signals are necessary for protein synthesis because they start the process of making proteins while stop codon signals are necessary to finish the protein.
Q.6. Summarize: Describe the processes of transcription and translation in your own words, based on what you have observed in the Gizmo.
Transcription: It begins when the enzyme RNA polymerase splits the DNA segment into two strands. Complementary mRNA nucleotides attach to the DNA template which forms an mRNA strand. The mRNA strand is similar to the DNA strand, the difference is uracil replaces thymine. The complete mRNA strand then separates from the DNA strand.
Translation: The mRNA strand moves to the ribosome. The start codon lines up with the ribosome, where a tRNA molecule attaches to it. The tRNA molecule is also attached to an amino acid. A second tRNA molecule and its amino acid are attached to the second mRNA codon. The two amino acids form a bond. More amino acids are added to the molecule as tRNA molecules attach to the mRNA codons until the protein is complete.
Gizmo RNA and Protein Synthesis Answers – Extension
Introduction: Inside a ribosome, amino acids are linked together to form a protein molecule. As the chain of amino acids grows, it folds and coils to form a three-dimensional shape. The complex shape that results determines the properties of the protein. Proteins have a wide variety of structures and perform many essential functions in living things.
A sequence of DNA that codes for a specific protein is called a gene. By coding for proteins,
genes determine an organism’s inherited traits.
Question: How do genes code for specific proteins and traits?
Q.1. Translate: Each codon codes for one of 20 amino acids. This code is universal among all living things. For example, the mRNA codon GGU codes for the amino acid glycine in every living thing, from bacteria to an elephant.
Examine the codon chart below. The amino acid coded for by a specific mRNA codon can be determined by finding the first base of the codon along the left side of the table, the second base along the top of the table, and the third base along the right side of the table. What amino acids do the following codons code for?
Ans: AUG: Methionine CUG: Leucine ACC: Threonine UAG: Stop
Q.2. Apply: Suppose you wanted a protein that consists of the amino acid sequence methionine, asparagine, valine, and histidine. Give an mRNA sequence that would code for this protein.
Ans: AUG AAU GUU CAU
Q.3. Summarize: How do genes determine the traits of an organism? Explain in detail.
Ans: A gene is a sequence of nucleotides on one strand of a DNA molecule. A sequence of three neighboring nucleotides is called a codon and they determine which amino acid should be put into the primary sequence of a polypeptide. A whole series of codons determine the entire primary structure of a polypeptide. A single polypeptide may be a protein or two or more polypeptides may join to form a protein. These proteins later form the structure of living organisms. Not only that genes have alleles that make up the genotype of a trait.
Q.4. Extend your thinking: Sometimes errors occur during transcription or translation. Examine the codon chart on the previous page. Notice that each amino acid is coded by several different codons. For example, alanine is coded for by GCU, GCC, GCA, and GCG. How might this offset transcription or translation errors?
Ans: It offsets them from becoming errors because of how many condons there are, therefore in a way decreasing the chance that a translation or transcription may cause a flawed protein formation.
Q.5. Think and discuss: Consider the two following statements:
-The theory of evolution states that all living things had a single common ancestor.
-The translation between mRNA and amino acids is the same for all living things. (For example, the mRNA codon CAG codes for glutamine in all living things.)
Does the second statement support the theory of evolution? Explain why or why not. If possible, discuss your answer with your teacher and classmates.
Ans: Yes it does, because if the translation between mRNA and amino acids would be different from one another in living things it might mean they are not related but since mRNA and amino acids are the same for all living things it could be used as proof that all living things have a
single common ancestor since it is the same for everyone.
Above are the correct answers for the Gizmo topic “RNA and Protein Synthesis“. Now let us bring you a glimpse of RNA and Protein Synthesis in the coming session.
Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a nucleic acid that contains ribose as its backbone.
Its popular name comes from the fact that the ribose subunits in RNA (in contrast to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)) are enantiomers – this means they are structural “mirror images” of each other.
All living cells contain both DNA and RNA, as each serves functions that are mutually exclusive yet complementary to one another.
RNA is transcribed from a DNA template strand in the same way as the synthesis of proteins occurs: during transcription an enzyme called RNA polymerase “reads” one strand of the double-helix and writes a complementary strand of RNA.
This process proceeds in 3 steps:
1) The enzyme first recognizes the promoter sequence at the beginning of the DNA strand to be transcribed.
2) It then unwinds approximately 20-30 base pairs ahead of that promoter, exposing the correct nucleotides for pairing with uracil – this is known as the “RNA Polymerase bubble”.
3) The enzyme then catalyzes the formation of phosphodiester bonds between nucleotides, RNA nucleotides are ribonucleotides containing uracil instead of thymine. Once these initial bonds have been synthesized, the polymerase begins moving down the strand until it reaches a terminator sequence. At this point, the enzyme dissociates from the strand and releases the newly created RNA molecule.
About Protein Synthesis
Protein synthesis is a complex process that takes place in cells to build new proteins from amino acids.
There are thousands of different proteins within the human body, and at any given moment countless processes involving these proteins are taking place.
Protein synthesis underpins many of these processes, but the formation of each new protein is a carefully coordinated undertaking that involves multiple steps and structures.
Protein synthesis occurs in the cytoplasm of cells and consists of different stages: transcription, translation, and post-translational modification. These processes depend on each other and take place within a cell’s nucleus or “ribosome factory,” which is where proteins are assembled according to instructions contained in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).
The main steps in protein synthesis are Unzipping Transcription, Translation, Elongation, and Termination.
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