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Cell. 2003 Jun 13;113(6):789-801.

Study of the structural dynamics of the E coli 70S ribosome using real-space refinement.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Health Research, Inc, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12201, USA.


Cryo-EM density maps showing the 70S ribosome of E. coli in two different functional states related by a ratchet-like motion were analyzed using real-space refinement. Comparison of the two resulting atomic models shows that the ribosome changes from a compact structure to a looser one, coupled with the rearrangement of many of the proteins. Furthermore, in contrast to the unchanged inter-subunit bridges formed wholly by RNA, the bridges involving proteins undergo large conformational changes following the ratchet-like motion, suggesting an important role of ribosomal proteins in facilitating the dynamics of translation.

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