Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mystery of protein synthesis solved

25.08.2005


Five years ago x-ray crystallography made it possible for the first time to study ribosomes in cells, where the all-important synthesis of proteins takes place. But it hasnt been understood just how amino acids are joined together to form proteins. Now researchers at Uppsala University have discovered the only possible mechanism and have used it to explain a number of biochemical experiments.



The new findings, being published in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS, are the answer to one of the hottest unsolved mysteries about exactly how protein synthesis takes place. The translation of the genetic code in the production of new proteins is one of the most central processes in living organisms. This takes place in the ribosomes of cells, which are large complexes of nucleic acids and proteins consisting of roughly a million atoms. After decades of biochemical research into how ribosomes function, major breakthroughs were made five years ago when American and British research teams managed to determine the detailed atomic structure of ribosomes with the aid of x-ray crystallography. This enabled scientists to see directly how the components needed for protein synthesis are arrayed three-dimensionally in the ribosome. Among other things, it was shown that none of the protein components participate directly in the chemical reaction in which amino acids are joined together, but rather that the reaction must by catalyzed by the ribosomes nucleic acids (RNA).

- This squares with the notion that there once was an RNA world, before our present-day, sophisticated enzymes had developed. In other words, it is believed that the ribosome, which is a primeval biological “machine”, might still show traces of this time, says Johan Åqvist, professor at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Uppsala university.


The ribosome structure clearly showed how the genetic code is read, but the question remained how the catalytic process itself takes place, where amino acids are linked together to form new proteins. Using massive computer calculations, Johan Åqvist and doctoral student Stefan Trobro have now managed to simulate protein synthesis reactions and have examined several possible chemical mechanisms.

- Our findings show that there is only one possible type of mechanism, and we have been able give a detailed account of how it works and why the reaction proceeds so rapidly, says Johan Åqvist.

The theoretical calculations also serve to explain a number of biochemical experiments from recent years.

Anneli Waara | alfa
Further information:
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0504043102v1
http://www.uu.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Diamond Lenses and Space Lasers at Photonics West

15.12.2017 | Trade Fair News

A better way to weigh millions of solitary stars

15.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New epidemic management system combats monkeypox outbreak in Nigeria

15.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>