By Phillip E. Pack Ph.D.
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Extra resources for Anatomy and Physiology (Cliffs Quick Review)
Ribosomes have three binding sites—one for the mRNA, one for the tRNA that carries a growing polypeptide chain, and one for a second tRNA that delivers the next amino acid that will be inserted into the growing polypeptide chain. Here are the details of transcription, RNA processing, and protein synthesis (also see Figures 2-9 and 2-10): ■ During transcription, the RNA polymerase attaches to promoter regions on the DNA and beings to unzip the DNA into two strands. ) ■ As the RNA polymerase unzips the DNA, it assembles new nucleotides using one strand of the DNA as a template.
As each new tRNA arrives, the polypeptide chain is elongated by one new amino acid, growing in sequence and length as dictated by the codons on the mRNA. ) Eventually, a “stop” codon is encountered, and the ribosome subunits and polypeptide are released. Once the polypeptide is released, interactions among the amino acids give it its special three-dimensional shape. Subsequent processing by the endoplasmic reticulum or a Golgi body may make final modifications before the protein functions as a structural element or an enzyme.
Merkel cells occur deep in the epidermis at the epidermal-dermal boundary. They form Merkel discs, which, in association with nerve endings, serve a sensory function. Five layers make up the epidermis: ■ The stratum corneum contains many layers of dead, anucleate ker- atinocytes completely filled with keratin. The outermost layers are constantly shed. ■ The stratum lucidum contains two to three layers of anucleate cells. This layer is usually apparent only in thick skin (palms of hands and soles of feet).