Friday, March 18, 2011
RNA is transcribed from DNA by enzymes called RNA polymerases and is generally further processed by other enzymes. Some of these RNA-processing enzymes contain RNA as part of their structures. RNA is also central to the translation of some RNAs into proteins. In this process, a type of RNA called messenger RNA carries information from DNA to structures called ribosomes.
Viruses that replicate via RNA intermediates need an RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase to replicate their RNA, but animal cells do not seem to possess a suitable enzyme. Therefore, this type of animal RNA virus needs to code for an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase.
Ribonucleic acid or RNA is a nucleic acid made from a long chain of nucleotide units. Each nucleotide consists of a nitrogenous base, a ribose sugar, and a phosphate. RNA is very similar to DNA, but differs in a few important structural details: in the cell RNA is usually single stranded, while DNA is usually double stranded. RNA nucleotides contain ribose while DNA contains deoxyribose (a type of ribose that lacks one oxygen atom), and RNA has the nucleotide uracil rather than thymine which is present in DNA.
RNA interference (RNAi) by double stranded RNA (dsRNAs) molecules of approximately 20-25 nucleotides termed short interfering (siRNAs) is a powerful method for preventing the expression of a particular gene. The dsRNA dominantly silences gene expression in a sequence-specific manner by causing the corresponding endogenous mRNA to be degraded.