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Cell. 1997 Jan 10;88(1):19-28.

Arrangement of tRNAs in pre- and posttranslocational ribosomes revealed by electron cryomicroscopy.

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Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany.


The three-dimensional structure of the translating 70S E. coli ribosome is presented in its two main conformations: the pretranslocational and the posttranslocational states. Using electron cryomicroscopy and angular reconstitution, structures at 20 A resolution were obtained, which, when compared with our earlier reconstruction of "empty" ribosomes, showed densities corresponding to tRNA molecules--at the P and E sites for posttranslocational ribosomes and at the A and P sites for pretranslocational ribosomes. The P-site tRNA lies directly above the bridge connecting the two ribosomal subunits, with the A-site tRNA fitted snugly against it at an angle of approximately 50 degrees, toward the L7/L12 side of the ribosome. The E-site tRNA appears to lie between the side lobe of the 30S subunit and the L1 protuberance.

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