Difference Between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Translation

The translation is a process of sequential translation of messenger RNA (mRNA) to a sequence of amino acids during protein synthesis. This process involves ribosomes in the cellular matrix. Ribosomes present in the matrix component produce proteins after transcription of DNA to RNA conversion in the cell’s nucleus. This process is cumulatively referred to as gene expression.

Prokaryotic Translation vs Eukaryotic Translation

The main difference between Prokaryotic translation and Eukaryotic translation is that prokaryotic translation along with transcription is a synchronous process, whereas this isn’t the trend concerning eukaryotic translation. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic translation simultaneously takes place. The ribosomes involved are the 30S and 50S ribosomes in prokaryotic translation. In contrast, eukaryotic translation involves the 40S and 60S ribosomes.

Prokaryotic Translation vs Eukaryotic Translation

Prokaryotic translation contains mRNAs that are present in the cytoplasm, whereas eukaryotic mRNAs are present in the nucleus of an organism. The prokaryotic translation involves three steps, namely the initiation, elongation, and termination. It is the process of protein synthesis by the information provided by mRNA. The protein synthesis involves the enzyme aminoacyl transfer RNA synthase.

The eukaryotic translation is the systematic scheme of events that includes the tRNA. It is translated into protein in the eukaryotic organism. This translation in eukaryotes is a four-step process and possesses four phases. The four phases include gene regulation, elongation, termination, and recycling. It is a cyclic process in which ribosomal subunits are derived by cyclic recycling of post-termination ribosomal complexes.

Comparison Table Between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Translation

Parameters of ComparisonProkaryotic TranslationEukaryotic Translation
Process typeThe prokaryotic translation is a simultaneous and synchronous process.The eukaryotic translation is not simultaneous, and it is not an asynchronous process. It is discontinuous in nature.
Steps involvedThe steps involve initiation, elongation, and termination with release factors.The steps rest on four phases, including gene regulation, elongation, termination, and recycling.
Ribosomal subunitsIt occurs on 70S ribosomes comprising the 50S and 30S subunits.It occurs on 80S ribosomes consisting of two subunits, the 60S and 40S subunits.
Nature of ProcessIt is a relatively faster process and adds up around 20 residues for protein synthesis per second.It is slower, and it adds up around 9 residues maximum per second.
Initiation factorsThere are three initiation factors involved: IF1, IF2-GTP, and IF3.There are 12eIFs, i.e., eukaryotic initiation factors, involved in the synthesis.

What is Prokaryotic Translation?

Prokaryotic translation occurs in the cytoplasm, and the ribosomal subunits are present in this locality. Two enzymes, aminoacyl tRNA synthetase and peptidyl transferase, are involved in prokaryotic translation. The protein synthesis in prokaryotic translation requires mRNA, tRNA, amino acids, ribosomes, along with specific enzyme requirements. The IF1 factor is used in initiation to help to stabilize the 30S ribosomal subunit.

The elongation process helps in the translocation of ribosomes. The EF-TS and EF-G generate EF-TU. The termination factors involve RF-1. RF-2 and RF-3. The RF-1 aids in segregating polypeptides from the transfer ribonucleic acid, and it is also specific for certain genetic codons.

The RF-2 helps to dissociate polypeptides specific for UGA and UAA. The RF-3 in the termination process stimulates RF-1 and RF-2. The activation of amino acids takes place in the cytoplasm. The activation of amino acids is catalyzed by their enzyme aminoacyl tRNA synthetases. The amino acid present in the transfer ribonucleic acid while changing sites forms a peptide bond.

Ribosomes are usually present as subunits. They aid in producing proteins. There is certainly a lot of research being conducted to study the sub-unit formation and function. These subunits also form together as they are present as two individual components. They can be found in the cellular matrix.

What is Eukaryotic Translation?

The eukaryotic translation is discontinuous and not a synchronizing process. This non-continuous process involves ribosomes that are present in the matrix of the cellular structure. Proteins are synthesized after the completion of transcription. The prokaryotic ribosome contains three binding sites. These sites are named the A, P, and E sites. These sites are the places were binding, transfer and exit mechanism takes place.

Messenger RNAs located tend to be called monocistronic. The beginning of protein production in higher organisms requires those contributing factors to initiate the process of translation in the cell. The initiating amino acid is methionine, whereas prokaryotes require the amino acid N-formyl methionine.

Upon terminating the elongation process, it requires the release of eukaryotic release factors. These factors do recognize three termination codes. The codons that contain termination information codes for the mechanism of termination of the process in the cell. Followed by termination, polypeptides are produced in the end by the cell.

Here in eukaryotic translation possesses a complicated initiation process. Through the initiation process, the consecutive processes, including elongation and termination processes, remain quite the same. The initiation factors in eukaryotic translations are bound to a special tag to the 5’ cap as well as 5’ UTR. RNA helicases are also involved in translation. These RNA helicases include DHX29 and Ded1/DDX3. The elongation requires eukaryotic elongation factors.

Main Differences Between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Translation

  1. The prokaryotic translation is a simultaneous process, whereas eukaryotic translation is not simultaneous and it is a discontinuous process.
  2. In prokaryotic translation, the ribosomes involved are the 30S and 50S ribosomes. Whereas eukaryotic translation involves the 40S and 60S ribosomes.
  3. The prokaryotic translation possesses cap-independent initiation. Whereas eukaryotic translation requires cap-dependent and cap-independent initiation.
  4. Prokaryotes do not require a definite phase for translation to occur, whereas, in eukaryotes, the translation occurs in G1 and G2 phases in a cell cycle.
  5. The prokaryotes have a single release factor, whereas eukaryotes have double release factors.


Translation in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes contains significant differences. The translation is cyclic yet not simultaneous in all organisms. Initiation on most eukaryotes requires three initiation factors. There are about twelve initiation factors required for eukaryotes.

Both the translations are involved in protein synthesis. The translation process is regarded as the second step in genetic expression. All similar codons are present in either group. The peptide bond formation is similar in eukaryotes and prokaryotes, and the stop codons are present in eukaryotes and prokaryotes. In both organisms, the peptidyl transferase activity catalyzes the formation of peptide bond formation.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22155178/
  2. https://www.nature.com/scitable/definition/translation-rna-translation-173/
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