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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2011 Aug 21;18(9):1043-51. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2098.

Transfer RNA-mediated regulation of ribosome dynamics during protein synthesis.

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Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.


Translocation of tRNAs through the ribosome during protein synthesis involves large-scale structural rearrangement of the ribosome and ribosome-bound tRNAs that is accompanied by extensive and dynamic remodeling of tRNA-ribosome interactions. How the rearrangement of individual tRNA-ribosome interactions influences tRNA movement during translocation, however, remains largely unknown. To address this question, we used single-molecule FRET to characterize the dynamics of ribosomal pretranslocation (PRE) complex analogs carrying either wild-type or systematically mutagenized tRNAs. Our data reveal how specific tRNA-ribosome interactions regulate the rate of PRE complex rearrangement into a critical, on-pathway translocation intermediate and how these interactions control the stability of the resulting configuration. Notably, our results suggest that the conformational flexibility of the tRNA molecule has a crucial role in directing the structural dynamics of the PRE complex during translocation.

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