A step in protein biosynthesis wherein the genetic code carried by mRNA is decoded to produce the specific sequence of amino acids in a polypeptide chain. The process follows transcription in which the DNA sequence is copied (or transcribed) into an mRNA.


Translation occurs in the cytoplasm where the ribosomes are located. It consists of four phases:
(1) activation – the correct amino acid is covalently bonded to the correct tRNA – a step required for translation to proceed
(2) initiation - the small subunit of the ribosome binds to 5' end of mRNA with the help of initiation factors (IF)
(3) elongation – the next aminoacyl-tRNA in line binds to the ribosome along with GTP and an elongation factor.
(4) termination - the A site of the ribosome faces a stop codon (UAA, UAG, or UGA)

Word origin: L trānslātiōn- (s. of trānslātiō) a transferring, equiv. to trānslāt(us) + -iōn.

Related forms: translational (adjective), translationally (adverb).
Related phrases: nick translation.

See also: protein synthesis.

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