PerspectivePROTEIN SYNTHESIS

A Ribosome at the End of the Tunnel

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Science  19 Dec 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5346, pp. 2072-2073
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5346.2072

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Summary

Ribosomes, the organelles that synthesize new proteins, direct those destined for export into membranous tubes inside the cell, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). New images on p. 2123 of ribosomes bound to their docking site on the surface of the ER show a hole in the middle of the ribosome that lines up with another channel in the docking apparatus (the translocon), forming a continuous pathway through which proteins could potentially be directed. In their Perspective, Powers and Walter explain why this channel is the likely conduit through which proteins gain access to the ER to be packaged for export.