Research Article

Crystal Structure of the Eukaryotic Ribosome

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Science  26 Nov 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6008, pp. 1203-1209
DOI: 10.1126/science.1194294

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Crystal structures of prokaryotic ribosomes have described in detail the universally conserved core of the translation mechanism. However, many facets of the translation process in eukaryotes are not shared with prokaryotes. The crystal structure of the yeast 80S ribosome determined at 4.15 angstrom resolution reveals the higher complexity of eukaryotic ribosomes, which are 40% larger than their bacterial counterparts. Our model shows how eukaryote-specific elements considerably expand the network of interactions within the ribosome and provides insights into eukaryote-specific features of protein synthesis. Our crystals capture the ribosome in the ratcheted state, which is essential for translocation of mRNA and transfer RNA (tRNA), and in which the small ribosomal subunit has rotated with respect to the large subunit. We describe the conformational changes in both ribosomal subunits that are involved in ratcheting and their implications in coordination between the two associated subunits and in mRNA and tRNA translocation.

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