Protein Synthesis in Eukaryotes

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Protein Synthesis in Prokaryotes

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What Are Eukaryotes?
  • 1:02 First Step of Protein…
  • 2:16 Second Step of Protein…
  • 4:15 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dominic Corsini
What kind of cells are you made of and how do these cells make protein? In this lesson, we will answer these questions through an investigation into protein synthesis in eukaryotes.

What are Eukaryotes?

All living organisms, be they giant whales, towering trees, or microscopic bacteria, are made of cells. In fact, being made of cells is one of the characteristics of life.

Biologists classify cells into two primary categories: prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Eukaryotes are cells that contain membrane-bound organelles. More simply, they're the cells contained in every plant, animal, fish, and reptile roaming the planet. Prokaryotes lack membrane-bound organelles and are much simpler than eukaryotes.

Both eukaryotes and prokaryotes need certain materials in order to survive. One such material is protein. Protein is a large molecule formed by linking amino acids together in a chain. Amino acids are the subunits of protein molecules containing an amine functional group and an acid functional group. Eukaryotes, like you, make protein through a process called protein synthesis.

First Step of Protein Synthesis: Transcription

The process of protein synthesis begins with DNA, the genetic blueprint for life. DNA exists within the nucleus of a cell. Remember that eukaryotes contain membrane-bound organelles, which includes a nucleus, but prokaryotes do not. Therefore, the protein synthesis we're describing is unique to eukaryotes.

DNA inside the cell doesn't exit the nucleus. It's too large a molecule to fit through nuclear openings, and by remaining inside, it stays safe from damage. However, protein synthesis, which occurs outside the nucleus, is based off of the coded message of DNA. This creates a problem: how do the instructions from a DNA molecule get outside the nucleus in order to produce a protein?

The answer is that your cells use another molecule to carry DNA's message beyond the safety and security of the cell nucleus. This molecule is called mRNA, or messenger RNA. This mRNA is smaller than DNA and can exit the nucleus. Ultimately, it's the link between DNA and protein synthesis. Production of mRNA from DNA is called transcription. Transcription is the first step in eukaryotic protein synthesis.

Second Step of Protein Synthesis: Translation

Following transcription, when mRNA is produced, the cell undergoes another process called translation. Translation is when the message carried by mRNA is converted into a protein. Remember that proteins are long chains of amino acids.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account