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Mature mRNA

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noun, plural: mature mRNAs

The completely processed mRNA molecule in the cell of eukaryotes


The mRNA is a type of RNA involved in protein synthesis. It is synthesized based on DNA template on the nucleus. In eukaryotes, it needs to be processed before it can be fully functional, conveying the genetic code to the ribosomes (site of protein synthesis in the cytoplasm).

In eukaryotes, the initial form of mRNA is called the precursor mRNA (pre-mRNA). It is formed by transcribing the genetic information from DNA molecule. It is then processed to become a fully functional mRNA called mature mRNA before it can be moved into the cytoplasm for translation with the ribosomes.

A pre-mRNA molecule becomes a mature mRNA molecule after having undergone the following processes:

  • 5' cap addition – the addition of a 5'cap to the front or 5' end of the pre-mRNA molecule at the start of transcription
  • splicing – removal of any introns (non-coding sequences) and the splicing together of exons (protein-coding sequences)
  • editing – in some instances, the nucleotide composition is altered
  • polyadenylation – a poly a tail is added to the free 3' end at the cleavage site

Once these processes are completed the mature mRNA can then be transported from the nucleus into the cytoplasm for protein translation.

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