Anticodon Function: 3 Facts You Should Know!

Anticodons bind, in a complementary fashion, to codons on mRNA that is passing through ribosome. Let us learn about its function in brief.

The main function of anticodon is to help manufacture a protein during the process of translation. Anticodon bridges the amino acid sequence of the protein and the mRNA’s nucleotide sequence. The three-base sequence on the tRNA that matches the codon is known as the anticodon.

Let us discuss anticodon loop function, anticodon arm of tRNA function, its location, anticodons for amino acids and many other related topics in this article.              

Anticodon loop function

Anticodons are the sequence of three nucleotides that are complementary to a codon. Let us learn the functions of anticodon in detail.

Listed below are major functions of anticodon:

  • Anticodons are important for the synthesis of proteins which are needed for biochemical functions in the body.
  • Anticodon help in the process refers to translation in the “central dogma.” It is the synthesis of protein from messenger RNA (mRNA). To do this, ribosomes, mRNA and tRNA are necessary.
  • The main purpose of anticodon is to correctly synthesize the protein’s unique Amino Acid sequence. The anticodon has some “wiggle” room, where several anticodons can code for a specific amino acid known to contribute to wobble positioning.
  • It allows the proteins to fold and make interactions within their structure to give the protein its ability to function.
  • The correct amino acid is recognized because it is conveyed to the ribosome by a transfer RNA (tRNA) that bears the correct anticodon to be complementary to the current codon of the mRNA.

Anticodon arm of tRNA function              

Anticodon region of a transfer RNA is a sequence of three bases that are complementary to a codon in messenger RNA. Let us see anticodon arm of tRNA function.              

The anticodon arm of tRNA do their function during translation. The bases of anticodon form the complementary base by forming the appropriate hydrogen bonds. For example,

  1. The tRNA that has the anticodon UUU is complementary to the codon AAA. The codon AAA specifies the amino acid phenylalanine.
  2. The tRNA with the anticodon CCC is complementary to the codon GGG. The codon GGG specifies the amino acid glycine.
Codon-Anticodon pairing from Wikimedia

Where are anticodons located

The tRNA has anticodons and mRNA has codons that were transcribed from DNA that needs to stay in the nucleus. Let us check where and how it is located.

The following points details how and where anticodons are located:

  • The main location of anticodon is outside the nucleus, tRNAs carry the amino acids (1 tRNA carries 1 specific amino acid) and the sequence of amino acids makes the protein shape and function.
  • These tRNAs have anticodons which are nucleotide sequences of 3 bases just like the codons on mRNA. When ribosome assembles on mRNA it brings tRNAs with an anticodon to read the codon on an mRNA.
  • If they are complementary, mRNA (codon: AUG) and tRNA (anticodon: UAC) will bind via hydrogen bonding and the ribosome will move to the next codon on mRNA to repeat this process and bring another tRNA to bind.
  • What results is an amino acid sequence has certain chemistry that will cause it to fold in certain ways and the shape determines the function of the newly formed protein.
Peptide synthesis from Wikipedia

How to find anticodon?

The tRNA is a kind of adapter that carries appropriate amino acids and anticodon to the ribosome. Let us see how we can find an anticodon.

The anticodon, which is located on the tRNA, can be identified when it pairs with the codon (on the mRNA) to transport proper amino acid to the ribosome where it can be added to the peptide chain.

How to find anticodon from codon?

The complementary reaction of codon and anticodon happens inside a ribosome, where the tRNA is carrying a peptide. Let us see how to find anticodon from codon.

The anticodon and codon are made from the same material (nucleotides) but composed of different types of RNA, wherein we can find an AUG for a codon on an mRNA, and we can get a complementary UAC as an anti-codon on a tRNA.

The peptide gets detached by the ribosome and becomes the starting point of a new polypeptide being made.

How to find anticodons for amino acids?

Each tRNA has a set of three nucleotides whose purpose is to match mRNA with amino acids inside the ribosome. Let us check how to find anticodons for amino acids.

The amino acid sequence of the developing polypeptide is determined by the anticodon’s base pairing with mRNA in the ribosome; the mRNA sequence is derived from DNA, which is where the code is stored.


From the above article, it can be concluded that, the anticodon has nucleotides that are complementary to m-RNA codons. During the synthesis of proteins, the anticodon of tRNA binds to the codon of mRNA.

Read more about Anticodon Example

Bhairavi Rathord

Hello, I am Bhairavi Rathod, I have completed my Master's in Biotechnology and qualified ICAR NET 2021 in Agricultural Biotechnology. My area of specialization is Integrated Biotechnology. I have the experience to teach and write very complex things in a simple way for learners. My LinkedIn profile:

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