Part of the show How Cancers Form, Cancer Biology and Future Therapies
Owen in Eastbourne asked:
I'm an A-level biology student and I'm interested in knowing how mRNA from a gene gets from the gene in the nucleus out to the right place in the cytoplasm where the protein is made.
We don't really know in detail, but what we know sort of happens is that as soon as the messenger RNAs are made, they are complexed in this protein particle. That particle is then transported in a system that requires a lot of energy through special pores in the nucleus and out the other side. It then attracts via a chemical reaction and congregates with various machinery for activating synthesis of those proteins. If you're asking me how each individual particle is moved around, that's the big mystery. How do cells know who they are and what they are and how do the bits themselves know who they are and what they are? I wish I knew!