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Overview of RNA Processing

Jump to Antibodies

Ribonucleic Acid, or RNA, is one of three major biological macromolecules that are essential to all forms of life.  Genetic information flows from DNA, to RNA and finally to proteins1. RNA has to be modified in several ways before it can be transported out of the nucleus and translated into protein. The primary transcription product of a gene is called a precursor mRNA, pre-mRNA which is further modified in several steps2.     

The RNA that is produced from transcription is not actually ready for its job in the cell.  There are a few steps that the RNA has to go through to in order to encode for its protein3. Eukaryotic mRNAs have three main parts, 5’ untranslated region (5’ UTR) that varies in length, the coding sequence that specifies the amino acid sequence of the protein, and the 3’ untranslated region (3’ UTR) which also varies in length and influences the stability of the mRNA4. Each of these three parts goes through a specific modification during RNA processing. 

The first major modification is called capping.  The 5’ end of mRNAs contain what is called a cap.  The cap is made up of a modified guanine nucleotide, specifically a 7-methylguanosine, that is added to the 5’ end of the pre-mRNA2,3,4. This capping process helps to stabilize the mRNA, assists with transport in to the cytoplasm and influences the translation of the mRNA3

The second major modification is polyadenylation.  The 3’ end is cut and subsequently polyadenylated.  A short sequence at the end of the pre-mRNA signals it to be cut at a specific site and 150-200 adenylate residues are added to the 3’ end to form a poly(A)-tail.  The poly(A)-tail is important for RNA transport as well as preventing premature degredation2,3,4,5.    

The third major modification is splicing. The pre-mRNA is made up of two types of sequences: introns, or intervening sequences that are not expressed in proteins and exons, or coding sequences that are retained in the mature mRNA and encode the protein4,6. Splicing is the mechanism by which the introns are removed and the exons are ligated together at the same time in order to form the mature mRNA2,3. The splicing reaction is catalyzed by a large complex called a spliceosome that is comprised of several RNAs and over 50 proteins.         

Once RNA processing is completed and the 5’end is capped, the 3’end has been polyadenylated and the introns have been spliced out, the mature mRNA is transported into the cytoplasm and translation occurs and the encoded protein is manufactured. Recent research has shown that there is extensive variability in pre-mRNA processing and splicing that has been linked to genetic variation as well as being associated with disease risk5.  In fact, there are a growing number of genes in which splicing variants are directly linked with disease susceptibility5. Bethyl manufactures many antibodies to proteins involved in all steps and phases of RNA processing that may aid in advancing breakthroughs into disease risk and susceptibility.


Below is the current listing of Bethyl antibodies involved in RNA Processing:


RNA Processing


1. The RNA Society. What is RNA?

2. Nobel Prize. RNA Processing.

3. Gene to Protein, RNA Processing.

4. RNA Processing: Eukaryotic mRNAs.

5. Manning KS and Cooper TA. 2017. The roles of RNA processing in translating genotye to phenotype. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 18(2): 102-114.

6. Clancy S. 2008. RNA Splicing: Introns, Exons and Spliceosomes. Nature Education 1(1):31.