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Structure. 2009 Nov 11;17(11):1453-64. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2009.09.010.

Regulation of the protein-conducting channel by a bound ribosome.

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  • 1Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


During protein synthesis, it is often necessary for the ribosome to form a complex with a membrane-bound channel, the SecY/Sec61 complex, in order to translocate nascent proteins across a cellular membrane. Structural data on the ribosome-channel complex are currently limited to low-resolution cryo-electron microscopy maps, including one showing a bacterial ribosome bound to a monomeric SecY complex. Using that map along with available atomic-level models of the ribosome and SecY, we have determined, through molecular dynamics flexible fitting (MDFF), an atomic-resolution model of the ribosome-channel complex. We characterized computationally the sites of ribosome-SecY interaction within the complex and determined the effect of ribosome binding on the SecY channel. We also constructed a model of a ribosome in complex with a SecY dimer by adding a second copy of SecY to the MDFF-derived model. The study involved 2.7-million-atom simulations over altogether nearly 50 ns.

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