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Structures of the Bacterial Ribosome in Classical and Hybrid States of tRNA Binding

Science  20 May 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6032, pp. 981-984
DOI: 10.1126/science.1202692

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Abstract

During protein synthesis, the ribosome controls the movement of tRNA and mRNA by means of large-scale structural rearrangements. We describe structures of the intact bacterial ribosome from Escherichia coli that reveal how the ribosome binds tRNA in two functionally distinct states, determined to a resolution of ~3.2 angstroms by means of x-ray crystallography. One state positions tRNA in the peptidyl-tRNA binding site. The second, a fully rotated state, is stabilized by ribosome recycling factor and binds tRNA in a highly bent conformation in a hybrid peptidyl/exit site. The structures help to explain how the ratchet-like motion of the two ribosomal subunits contributes to the mechanisms of translocation, termination, and ribosome recycling.

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