6.6.2 tRNA– the Adapter Molecule

From the very beginning of the proposition of code, it was clear to Francis Crick that there has to be a mechanism to read the code and also to link it to the amino acids, because amino acids have no structural specialities to read the code uniquely.

He postulated the presence of an adapter molecule that would on one hand read the code and on other hand would bind to specific amino acids. The tRNA, then called sRNA (soluble RNA), was known before the genetic code was postulated.

However, its role as an adapter molecule was assigned much later. tRNA has an anticodon loop that has bases complementary to the code, and it also has an amino acid accepter end to which it binds to amino acids. tRNAs are specific for each amino acid.

For initiation, there is another specific tRNA that is referred to as initiator tRNA. There are no tRNAs for stop codons. In figure 6.12, the secondary structure of tRNA has been depicted that looks like a clover-leaf. In actual structure, the tRNA is a compact molecule which looks like inverted L.

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