Protein Synthesis Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:03 What Is Protein Synthesis?
  • 0:38 How Does Protein…
  • 1:15 Transcription
  • 1:43 Translation
  • 2:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Protein synthesis is a fancy term that means making protein. In this lesson, we'll learn about protein synthesis and the two steps of this process: transcription and translation.

What Is Protein Synthesis?

When you want to make a cake, you follow a recipe. That recipe tells you what ingredients to use and what equipment you'll need, like a mixer and bowl. When the cells of your body want to make protein, they follow a recipe.

Protein synthesis is a term that means making protein. The recipe for protein synthesis uses ingredients like mRNA, tRNA, and amino acids as well as a special piece of equipment called a ribosome. In this lesson, we'll talk about how your cells use the ingredients of protein synthesis to build new proteins inside of ribosomes.

How Does Protein Synthesis Work?

There are a lot of different proteins in your body, and each protein has its own secret code. That secret code is found inside the nucleus of your cells in a molecule called DNA. To make a new protein, the secret code has to be smuggled out of the nucleus and get into a ribosome, which is a protein-making organelle. Organelles are like tiny factories inside your cells that take care of the cells' needs.

To get the secret code from the nucleus to the ribosome, we need a messenger. The messenger that carries the genetic information from the nucleus to the ribosome is called messenger RNA, or mRNA for short.


There are two steps of protein synthesis: transcription and translation. mRNA is made during the first step of protein synthesis, which is transcription. If you transcribe something, it means you write it down. So, in this step, the DNA's genetic information, or secret code, gets written onto a strand of mRNA. Remember that DNA is found inside the nucleus of a cell. So, transcription takes place in the nucleus.

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