An anticodon is a trinucleotide sequence complementary to that of a corresponding codon in a messenger RNA (mRNA) sequence. An anticodon is found at one end of a transfer RNA (tRNA) molecule. During protein synthesis, each time an amino acid is added to the growing protein, a tRNA forms base pairs with its complementary sequence on the mRNA molecule, ensuring that the appropriate amino acid is inserted into the protein.
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Okay, so an anticodon is a three-letter sequence that's complementary, or matches up, to the codon sequence found in the RNA. And the RNA, typically a messenger RNA, codes for proteins. Proteins are made up of amino acids, and these three-letter codons in the RNA are what code for the amino acids to match up with those three-letter codon sequences you need an anticodon sequence to match up with the complimentary bases. And you'll find that anticodon sequence in the transfer RNA, which is carrying the correct amino acid that it's going to attach to the protein that is being generated by that messenger RNA.
Elliott Margulies, Ph.D.
Investigator, Genome Technology Branch; Head, Genome Informatics Section
Dr. Margulies develops bioinformatical approaches to identifying and characterizing regions of the human genome that are evolutionarily conserved across multiple species. The conservation of these sequences over millions of years of evolution is strong evidence that they play important roles in biology, such as coding for genes or functioning as regulatory elements. He has played an important role in advancing the goals of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (NISC) Comparative Sequencing Program. Dr. Margulies's group utilizes both high-performance computational analyses and laboratory-based high-throughput genomic methods to decipher the genetic information that confers biological function.