The Mechanisms of Ribosome FunctionInsights into protein synthesis

Launched May 2008 Updated March 2021 19 lectures

The genetic information encoded in messenger RNA is translated into proteins by a 2.5 mega dalton RNA-protein machine, the ribosome. This process has been studied by molecular biologists and biochemists for more than 40 years, but recent advances in high resolution X-ray structures of the ribosome and its components as... read morewell as insights into the process obtained from cryoelectron microscopy have greatly enhanced the insights derived from biochemical and genetic studies. We are now understanding how this largest of all RNA machines is able to decode the message, synthesize polypeptides and work with other factors to secrete proteins and insert them into membranes.

Since about 50% of clinically effective antibiotics target the ribosome, the emerging understanding of how these antibiotics bind to and function on the ribosome and how resistance mutations reduce the effectiveness of these antibiotics is leading to the exciting prospect of structure-based design of new and more effective antibiotics.