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Cell. 2006 Sep 22;126(6):1065-77. Epub 2006 Sep 7.

Crystal structure of a 70S ribosome-tRNA complex reveals functional interactions and rearrangements.

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Center for Molecular Biology of RNA and Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.


Our understanding of the mechanism of protein synthesis has undergone rapid progress in recent years as a result of low-resolution X-ray and cryo-EM structures of ribosome functional complexes and high-resolution structures of ribosomal subunits and vacant ribosomes. Here, we present the crystal structure of the Thermus thermophilus 70S ribosome containing a model mRNA and two tRNAs at 3.7 A resolution. Many structural details of the interactions between the ribosome, tRNA, and mRNA in the P and E sites and the ways in which tRNA structure is distorted by its interactions with the ribosome are seen. Differences between the conformations of vacant and tRNA-bound 70S ribosomes suggest an induced fit of the ribosome structure in response to tRNA binding, including significant changes in the peptidyl-transferase catalytic site.

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