Unicellular organisms, such as bacteria, have to be able to react and respond to the changes in environment. Nutrient starvation, temperature change and different alterations in environment require the cell to respond by producing various proteins, which then take action in controlling the response mechanisms. Eukaryotic cells of a multicellular organism have different phenotypes and perform different functions even if their DNA code is completely identical. For example, the lymphocytes of the immune system are the only cells in an organism to produce the antibodies, while red blood cells are the only cells making haemoglobin, the protein which transports the oxygen. Now it is known that the cell differentiation is achieved by the regulation of gene expression. But the same mRNA molecule, transcribed from the DNA, can be translated many times and the amount of protein produced in the cell is determined by the length of time that mRNA molecule is present in the cytoplasm. Process of the production of the protein from mRNA molecules also requires high amounts of energy and recourses (Belasco, 2010). The specific mechanisms to degrade mRNA in eukaryotes, when encoded protein is no longer required by the cell, or the product might be not functional or disadvantageous for a cell, will be explained in this essay.
GENERAL mRNA DECAY PRINCIPLES
The lifetime of mRNA molecules in the cell varies depending on many aspects. For example, the presence of mRNA molecules in not activelly dividing eukaryotic cells may be in a range from few minutes to more than one day (Belasco, 2010). The cell is able to react quickly to the changing environment by the method of regulating its gene expression at the post-transcriptional lev...
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