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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Sep-Oct;40(5):285-311.

The ribosomal peptidyl transferase center: structure, function, evolution, inhibition.

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Innsbruck Biocenter, Division of Genomics and RNomics, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.


The ribosomal peptidyl transferase center (PTC) resides in the large ribosomal subunit and catalyzes the two principal chemical reactions of protein synthesis: peptide bond formation and peptide release. The catalytic mechanisms employed and their inhibition by antibiotics have been in the focus of molecular and structural biologists for decades. With the elucidation of atomic structures of the large ribosomal subunit at the dawn of the new millennium, these questions gained a new level of molecular significance. The crystallographic structures compellingly confirmed that peptidyl transferase is an RNA enzyme. This places the ribosome on the list of naturally occurring ribozymes that outlived the transition from the pre-biotic RNA World to contemporary biology. Biochemical, genetic and structural evidence highlight the role of the ribosome as an entropic catalyst that accelerates peptide bond formation primarily by substrate positioning. At the same time, peptide release should more strongly depend on chemical catalysis likely involving an rRNA group of the PTC. The PTC is characterized by the most pronounced accumulation of universally conserved rRNA nucleotides in the entire ribosome. Thus, it came as a surprise that recent findings revealed an unexpected high level of variation in the mode of antibiotic binding to the PTC of ribosomes from different organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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