Prokaryotic vs Eukaryotic Transcription: Difference and Comparison

Chromosomes are long molecules that contain millions of base pairs, making up a single chromosome. Most of these are special; they are known as genes.

Key Takeaways

  1. Prokaryotic transcription occurs in the cytoplasm, while Eukaryotic transcription occurs in the nucleus.
  2. Prokaryotic transcription involves a single RNA polymerase enzyme, while Eukaryotic transcription involves three different RNA polymerases.
  3. Prokaryotic transcription does not require any post-transcriptional modification, whereas Eukaryotic transcription requires extensive post-transcriptional modification.

Prokaryotic vs Eukaryotic Transcription

The difference between prokaryotic transcription and eukaryotic transcription is that the prokaryotic transcription process occurs in the cytoplasm, while the eukaryotic transcription process occurs in the nucleus. The prokaryotic is the simple stage where there is DNA that is transcribed in RNA, which is fully functional and is translated into proteins, whereas in eukaryotes, the first RNA that is produced is called premature RNA, which doesn’t have the capability of making proteins then and there so, So there are modifications called splicing, 5 major end caps, and 3 major extensions.

Prokaryotic vs Eukaryotic Transcription
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In prokaryotic transcription and translation, both occur at the same time, so there is a small amount of mRNA processing.

In eukaryotic transcription, there is extensive mRNA processing, that is, the removal of introns and the addition of exons, the addition of 5 caps, and the addition of poly-a tails.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonProkaryotic TranscriptionEukaryotic Transcription
Site of TranscriptionTranscription occurs in the cytoplasm.Transcription occurs inside the nucleus.
Translation AssociationCoupled transcription and translation.Coupled transcription and translation are not possible.
RNA PolymeraseA single RNA polymerase synthesizes all types of RNA.Three types of RNA polymerase.
InitiationGenerally, no proteins are required.It requires proteins called transcription factors.
Transcriptional unitPolycistronicMonocistronic

What is Prokaryotic Transcription?

Prokaryotic transcription involves several genes, resulting in polycistronic mRNAs that specify multiple proteins in a single molecule.

The prokaryotic transcription proceeds in three steps- Initiation, Elongation, and Termination. And this process is driven by the DNA-dependent RNA polymerase enzyme, which transcribes the DNA.

Two promoter consensus sequences are located in the -10 and -35 regions upstream of the start site, which is the same in all promoters and bacterial species.

Polymerase aborts when it is unable to synthesize. Once polymerase is synthesized, i.e., threshold 10+ nucleotides are synthesized, that’s called successful initiation.

What is Eukaryotic Transcription?

The transcription of eukaryotes is much more complicated than that of prokaryotes. In contrast to bacterial RNA polymerase, it can form a connection with the DNA template on its own.

The Eukaryotes have 3 RNA polymerase enzymes. RNA polymerase 2 is a major polymerase enzyme involved in the transcription of mRNA in eukaryotes.

The DNA strands and the nascent RNA chain exit via separate channels; the two DNA strands reunite at the transcription bubble’s trailing end, while the single-strand RNA exits on its own at the transcription bubble’s leading end.

Main Differences Between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Transcription

  1. In prokaryotic, no proteins are required, whereas eukaryotic transcription requires proteins called transcription factors.
  2. The prokaryotic transcriptional unit is polycistronic, whereas, in eukaryotic transcription, it is monocistronic.
Difference Between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Transcription
References
  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14447
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969212601007031

Last Updated : 22 July, 2023

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25 thoughts on “Prokaryotic vs Eukaryotic Transcription: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The distinction in transcription initiation and the role of RNA polymerase enzymes in prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcription significantly impacts the nature of gene regulation and expression in the two domains of life.

    1. Avatar of Robinson Arthur
      Robinson Arthur

      The variation in transcription initiation and RNA polymerase functions underscores the evolutionary divergence between prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene expression strategies.

    2. Understanding the differences in transcription initiation and RNA polymerase activities enhances our comprehension of the complexities of gene regulation and cellular processes.

  2. The details regarding the transcriptional process and the differences in DNA-dependent RNA polymerase activity provide a comprehensive portrayal of the intricate mechanisms involved in gene expression.

    1. Avatar of Christopher Moore
      Christopher Moore

      Yes, Drogers. Understanding the nuances of transcriptional processes and RNA polymerase function enriches our knowledge of the complexities of gene regulation in different domains of life.

  3. The comparison table effectively delineates the critical distinctions between prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcription, offering a comprehensive overview of the diverse mechanisms involved in gene expression in varying cellular contexts.

    1. Indeed, Bpowell. The clear presentation of the key differences provides valuable insights into the multifaceted processes of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

  4. The transcriptional unit in prokaryotic transcription being polycistronic, and monocistronic in eukaryotic transcription is a fundamental discrepancy between the two. This distinction influences gene expression patterns.

    1. Yes, Frank84, the nature of the transcriptional unit has implications for gene expression. It’s a key aspect of understanding the variation between prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcription.

    2. The differences in the transcriptional unit contribute to the diverse regulatory mechanisms involved in prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene expression.

  5. The differences in the site of transcription and translation association between prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcription reveal the diverse cellular and molecular environments in which gene expression occurs, each with distinct regulatory mechanisms.

    1. Yes, Elliot Brown. The interplay between the site of transcription and translation contributes to the varied gene expression strategies that have evolved in response to differing cellular contexts.

  6. Eukaryotic transcription requiring the addition of 5′ caps and the removal of introns in mRNA processing demonstrates the complexity of this process. The necessity for extensive post-transcriptional modification is a notable characteristic of eukaryotic transcription.

    1. The complexity of mRNA processing in eukaryotic transcription emphasizes the importance of comprehensive regulatory mechanisms and quality control.

    2. The mRNA processing steps involved in eukaryotic transcription demand a deeper understanding of the intricacies of gene expression. It’s a highly organized and regulated process.

  7. The difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcription is highlighted in the site of transcription. Transcription occurs in the cytoplasm for prokaryotic and inside the nucleus for eukaryotic. This is a crucial aspect.

    1. Indeed, Hunt Louis. That is one of the significant differences between these two types of transcription. The cellular environment in which transcription occurs affects the process.

  8. The variation in RNA polymerase and initiation requirements in prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcription signifies the adaptation of gene expression mechanisms to the specific requirements of different organisms, reflecting diverse evolutionary pathways.

    1. The divergence in the characteristics of RNA polymerase and initiation factors underscores the specialized nature of gene expression in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms.

    2. Indeed, Eknight. The differences in transcriptional machinery provide insights into the evolutionary processes that have shaped the regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

  9. The initiation process varies for prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcription. Prokaryotic transcription generally does not require proteins, while eukaryotic transcription requires proteins called transcription factors.

    1. The differences in the initiation process impact the efficiency and regulation of transcription. It’s essential to understand these distinctions.

    2. The requirement for proteins in eukaryotic transcription indicates the increased complexity compared to prokaryotic transcription. It’s interesting how the processes differ.

  10. The association of coupled transcription and translation in prokaryotic transcription reveals the efficient utilization of cellular resources. The differences in RNA polymerase and its abilities further distinguish prokaryotic from eukaryotic transcription processes.

    1. Indeed, Ellis Eleanor. The simultaneous occurrence of transcription and translation in prokaryotic transcription showcases the streamlined nature of gene expression in prokaryotes.

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