Types of RNA

RNA functions to transfer genetic instructions from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, where the information is decoded

There are three main types of RNA which cooperate to complete this goal:

  • Messenger RNA (mRNA) – a transcript copy of a gene which encodes a specific polypeptide
  • Transfer RNA (tRNA) – carries the polypeptide subunits (amino acids) to the organelle responsible for synthesis (ribosome)
  • Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) – a primary component of the ribosome and is responsible for its catalytic activity

Additionally, cells may produce other variants of non-coding RNA to support and regulate the expression of genes:

  • Small nuclear RNA (snRNA) – a component of the spliceosome (involved in splicing of introns)
  • Short interfering RNA (siRNA) – moderates gene expression levels via RNA interference (RNAi)

Three Main Types of RNA