What Is the Function of Transfer RNA?

Transfer RNA, or tRNA, is responsible for decoding another type of RNA, messenger RNA or mRNA, in order to carry out the process of protein synthesis. Different types of tRNA exist, each of which communicates with a specific amino acid.

Protein synthesis, or protein biosynthesis, is a process by which cells create new proteins in order to replace those lost through degeneration and transportation. Each protein, by definition, requires a specific chain of amino acids bound together. This takes place by assembling each protein by ribosomes. There are three types of RNA, or ribonucleic acid, which carry out this function: messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA) and ribosomal RNA (rRNA).

tRNA plays an essential role in the second step of protein synthesis, known as translation. This step, which occurs in the cytoplasm of a cell, translates genetic information from DNA form to protein form.

There are 20 different types of tRNA, one specific to each type of amino acid. Every tRNA molecule has its associated amino acid attached to the end of it. The tRNA helps the amino acid join the chain by recognizing and binding it to the proper codon. It then decodes the related mRNA molecule in order to translate the DNA sequence into a complete protein.