What is Polycistronic mRNA? Ken Tao is an MCAT expert and explains that it is mRNA that codes for multiple, different proteins. This system is found in prokaryotes.
In this flash hard video, we’re going to discuss “What is Polycistronic mRNA?”
Polycistronic mRNA is mRNA that codes for multiple different protein products. Generally, Polycistronic mRNA is found in prokaryotes. For example, if a bacterial cell wants to use lactose as an energy source it will transcribe an mRNA molecule that encodes for multiple protein products necessary for lactose metabolism.
This is different from eukaryotes that have monocistronic mRNA that only encodes for one protein product per mRNA molecule. With Polycistronic mRNA, prokaryotes have less flexibility in regulating gene expression and that’s because when they produce that mRNA all of those protein products on that Polycistronic mRNA are going to be produced simultaneously. It’s not able to pick and choose to express only certain protein products on the Polycistronic mRNA.