Biology as Poetry: Genetics

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Termination (molecular genetics)

Separation of polymerization catalysts from completed information-carrying macromolecule

The termination step of especially transcription and translation involves the separation of RNA polymerase from both the DNA template and RNA product (for transcription) or the separation of the ribosome both the mRNA template and polypeptide product (for translation).

In both cases it is specific base sequences found in nucleic acid that signals the termination step, which most familiarly are the stop codons that serve to terminate translation. Indeed, another name for stop codon is termination codon.

Because the transcriptional and translational machinery are catalytic, the termination step frees up the associated gene and RNA polymerase, or ribosome and mRNA, to be employed in subsequent transcription or translation initiation and elongation. See too promoter, transcription factor, and translation elongation.

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