What Molecule Carries Amino Acids to the Ribosomes?

The molecule that carries amino acids to the ribosomes is transfer ribonucleic acid, commonly referred to as tRNA. This type of RNA is an essential component in protein synthesis.

The production of proteins in the body involves two stages: transcription and translation. Transcription is the process of transporting genetic information contained within the deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA to the protein/RNA complexes called ribosomes. Translation entails the interpretation of the transcribed information to build specific proteins. The three major types of RNA molecules that serve as the driving forces in protein synthesis include the messenger RNA or mRNA, ribosomal RNA or rRNA and tRNA.

Transcription begins in the formation of mRNA. RNA polymerase enzymes replicate one strand of DNA into mRNA transcripts, which are further processed into mature mRNA transcripts before they can be used. These transcript molecules contain the specific coding sequences for protein production. The rRNA is a primary constituent of ribosomes, which are the organelles where protein synthesis occurs. These structures bind to the mRNA to obtain the coding sequences. During translation, the tRNA transports amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, to the ribosomes. Depending on the instructions from the mRNA, the ribosomes synthesize complex proteins, known as polypeptides, by stringing long chains of specific amino acids.