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Trends Microbiol. 2008 Jul;16(7):326-35. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2008.05.001. Epub 2008 Jun 9.

Correlating ribosome function with high-resolution structures.

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Department of Structural Biology, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, 76100, Israel.


Ribosome research has undergone astonishing progress in recent years. Crystal structures have shed light on the functional properties of the translation machinery and revealed how the striking architecture of the ribosome is ingeniously designed as the framework for its unique capabilities: precise decoding, substrate-mediated peptide-bond formation and efficient polymerase activity. New findings include the two concerted elements of tRNA translocation: sideways shift and a ribosomal-navigated rotatory motion; the dynamics of the nascent-chain exit tunnel and the shelter formed by the ribosome-bound trigger-factor, which acts as a chaperone to prevent nascent-chain aggregation and misfolding. The availability of these structures has also illuminated the action, selectivity, resistance and synergism of antibiotics that target ribosomes.

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