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Nature. 2008 Aug 14;454(7206):852-7. doi: 10.1038/nature07115. Epub 2008 Jul 2.

Structural basis for translation termination on the 70S ribosome.

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


At termination of protein synthesis, type I release factors promote hydrolysis of the peptidyl-transfer RNA linkage in response to recognition of a stop codon. Here we describe the crystal structure of the Thermus thermophilus 70S ribosome in complex with the release factor RF1, tRNA and a messenger RNA containing a UAA stop codon, at 3.2 A resolution. The stop codon is recognized in a pocket formed by conserved elements of RF1, including its PxT recognition motif, and 16S ribosomal RNA. The codon and the 30S subunit A site undergo an induced fit that results in stabilization of a conformation of RF1 that promotes its interaction with the peptidyl transferase centre. Unexpectedly, the main-chain amide group of Gln 230 in the universally conserved GGQ motif of the factor is positioned to contribute directly to peptidyl-tRNA hydrolysis.

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