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Mechanical force releases nascent chain–mediated ribosome arrest in vitro and in vivo

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Science  24 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6233, pp. 457-460
DOI: 10.1126/science.1261909

Force to unblock a clogged ribosome

The synthesis of proteins from mRNA by the ribosome is highly regulated. But newly synthesized protein chains can still block the ribosome exit tunnel and slow protein synthesis. Goldman et al. use optical tweezers to show that by pulling on the stuck protein chain, they can unblock a clogged exit tunnel (see the Perspective by Puglisi). In vivo, the folding of a nascent protein chain just outside the tunnel also generates enough force to unclog a block, indicating that ribosome-peptide interactions fine-tune protein synthesis.

Science, this issue p. 457; see also p. 399