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Cell. 2001 Jul 27;106(2):233-41.

The path of messenger RNA through the ribosome.

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Center for Molecular Biology of RNA, Sinsheimer Laboratories, University of California-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.


Using X-ray crystallography, we have directly observed the path of mRNA in the 70S ribosome in Fourier difference maps at 7 A resolution. About 30 nucleotides of the mRNA are wrapped in a groove that encircles the neck of the 30S subunit. The Shine-Dalgarno helix is bound in a large cleft between the head and the back of the platform. At the interface, only about eight nucleotides (-1 to +7), centered on the junction between the A and P codons, are exposed, and bond almost exclusively to 16S rRNA. The mRNA enters the ribosome around position +13 to +15, the location of downstream pseudoknots that stimulate -1 translational frame shifting.

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