If you are more of a visual learner, you can also view my YouTube video for protein synthesis, which is embedded or directly available on YouTube.

Proteins are the workhorses of life and perform a variety of essential functions in our cells. But have you ever wondered how these complicated molecules are actually made? The answer lies in the fascinating world of protein synthesis, a remarkable cellular process that we are in the process of unraveling.

What is protein biosynthesis anyway?

For that you have to look at a cell first.

Nucleus of a cell

This is where the DNA is stored.

But now the genetic material has to get to the ribosomes outside the nucleus so that a protein can be formed. To do this, the data must be processed and transported in such a way that these ribosomes can read it later. This processing and transport is called protein biosynthesis.

The transcription

The DNA is currently stored in a double helix and must now first be opened up. To process the data now, the DNA is transcribed into an mRNA. In this process, the DNA is divided into base pairs and the bases are then read individually. The bases are then translated into the matching bases of the mRNA.

This is why the process is called transcription.

This mRNA is now passed on. Unlike DNA, mRNA consists of only one strand and is now ready to leave the cell, while only undergoing very little processing. First, the mRNA is shortened a bit more and then a few extra bases are added. These additional bases are important for translation.

Now the mRNA is ready and can leave the cell. There it is read by the ribosomes.

The translation

The ribosomes are the factories of the cell and consist of two subunits. Now three bases are read at the same time and these are called codon. Each codon stands for an amino acid.

After the entire mRNA has been read, the amino acid chains can now form complex 3D structures and thus form a protein.

This process is called translation because the bases are translated into amino acids. The mRNA can then be broken down again and the ribosomes can dissolve again.