6. Protein Factory - Getting Ready
- If not already assembled, put together a DNA model 60 base pairs long. Check to make sure that none of the stop codons (UAG, UAA and UGA) would be part of the messenger RNA coded by the sequence. Flipping the DNA molecule over or adding 1 or 2 extra bases on one end of the DNA sequence may solve the problem.
- To one end of the DNA model, add the following sequence (this is your promotor sequence to start transcription and your AUG start sequence to start translation):
T A T A A A C T T A C x x x ...
A T A T T T G A A T G x x x
- To the opposite end of the DNA model, add the following sequence (this is your stop codon).
... X X X A T C
X X X T A G
- Optional: work out for yourself what the sequence of amino acids would be for the DNA molecule you have. You want to check to make sure that there are no stop codons (UAG, UAA and UGA) within the messenger RNA.
- Make photocopies of the Factory Instructions handout. Follow the detailed directions at the top of the page.
- If not already given to students, make photocopies of the Genetic Code handout.
- Make photocopies of the puzzle pieces, each on a different colored paper.
- Have students cut out 1 or 2 sheets of puzzle pieces per person, possibly as homework the night before the activity.
- Place S-ribose, P and half of the A, C, G, and U pieces in one bin for the students playing the role of messenger RNA.
- Place amino acid, transfer RNA and the remaining half of the A, C, G, and U pieces in several other bins (4-5 bins total for 20 students to share) for the students playing the role of transfer RNA.
- Designate one area of the classroom as the nucleus with the other areas as the cytosol.