Fig. 3: Translation of mRNA by tRNA: Formation of the Initiation Complex

Codon Sheet (Fig. 2)

To initiate translation, a 30S ribosomal subunitbinds to a short nucleotide sequence on the mRNA called the ribosome binding site. However, translation doesn't usually begin until the 30S ribosomal subunit reaches the first AUG sequence in the mRNA. For this reason, AUG is known as the start codon. At this point, an initiation complex composed of the 30S subunit, a tRNA having the anticodon UAC and carrying an altered form of the amino acid methionine (N-formylmethionine or f-Met), and proteins called initiation factors is formed.

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