SEP 20, 2021 5:32 AM PDT

Ribosomes Make Proteins & Now We Know How Ribosomes Are Made

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Proteins are absolutely essential for the survival of organisms; they carry out many functions that are critical to life. Something needs to build all of those proteins from their basic components. Cells use organelles called ribosomes to accomplish that task. Many ribosomes can work at once to churn out the proteins that are needed using the instructions that are carried on molecules called messenger RNAs. Ribosomes are made up of subunits, which are themselves composed of RNA molecules (ribosomal RNAs) and a variety of proteins. Like proteins, ribosomes also have to be assembled.

Image credit: Pxfuel

Researchers have now learned more about how ribosomes are put together. The work, which utilized cryo-electron microscopy and cryo–electron microscopy, x-ray crystallography to image small subunits as they were used to build a complete ribosome, has been reported in Science.

Researcher Sebastian Klinge, an associate professor and head of the Laboratory of Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry at The Rockefeller University, compared the assembly of a ribosome to the construction of origami.

“Segments of RNA and other proteins have to be accurately folded in precise steps. The fundamental problem we are trying to understand is how proteins known as assembly factors work in concert to control each step of the assembly," explained Klinge.

In this work, the researchers used gene editing tools to tag various ribosome assembly factors. They were also able to create a new technique to capture particles that compose the ribosome before they are put together, while they were still in the nucleolus. Those pre-ribosomal particles were imaged at near atomic-level resolution. Interactions between nucleic acids and proteins generated a condensate in the nucleolus, which is an intermediate of the small subunit of the ribosome.

This study followed about 70 different assembly factors that are orchestrated to generate a scaffolding, which is used to construct the small ribosomal subunit and carry it through the path to becoming a ribosome. The assembly factors break apart when the subunit is complete.

While this work has helped us learn more about some aspects of basic biology, it may also be relevant to diseases in which ribosomal components or assembly factors are mutated or disrupted.

Source: The Rockefeller University, Science

About the Author
BS
Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
OCT 24, 2022
Neuroscience
Frankenworld: Should We Be Afraid of Playing God or Failing To Love Our Monsters?
OCT 24, 2022
Frankenworld: Should We Be Afraid of Playing God or Failing To Love Our Monsters?
Lawyer Henry T. Greely analyzes the relevance of Mary Shelley's classic, "Frankenstein," in light of today's bioscience
SEP 26, 2022
Cancer
Clinical Trial Suggests Oncolytic Virus Effective in Combination with Immune Checkpoint Inhibition
SEP 26, 2022
Clinical Trial Suggests Oncolytic Virus Effective in Combination with Immune Checkpoint Inhibition
One type of cancer immunotherapy, called oncolytic viral therapy, works by infecting cancer cells with a specific virus. ...
OCT 02, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
In Some Animals, Early Movements Can Have a Big Impact
OCT 02, 2022
In Some Animals, Early Movements Can Have a Big Impact
The Ikmi group at EMBL has shown that exercise has an important influence on the sea anemone.
OCT 26, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
Ancient Selfish Genes Carried by Yeast May Change Our View of Evolution
OCT 26, 2022
Ancient Selfish Genes Carried by Yeast May Change Our View of Evolution
When genes are passed down to the next generation, some have an advantage, and are more likely to be inherited than othe ...
NOV 09, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
A Human Enzyme That Originated in a Single-Celled Organism
NOV 09, 2022
A Human Enzyme That Originated in a Single-Celled Organism
The tree of life has three branches: archaea, bacteria, and eukaryotes. Eukaryotes include complex organisms, including ...
DEC 03, 2022
Cell & Molecular Biology
A New Form of Antibiotic Resistance is Discovered
DEC 03, 2022
A New Form of Antibiotic Resistance is Discovered
Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem; antibiotic resistant microbes already kill tens of thousands of people aroun ...
Loading Comments...