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Unraveling A Molecular Machine's Mysteries

Date:
February 20, 2007
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Research on one of the most important molecular "machines" in living cells is giving scientists clues to the development of new antibiotics and revealing secrets about how cells use the genetic information encoded in DNA, according to an article scheduled for the Feb. 19 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

Cells may contain hundreds of thousands to millions of ribosomes, one of which is depicted in this image. (Credit: Image courtesy of Venki Ramakrishnan, PyMOL (Delano Scientific, www.pymol.org))
Credit: Image courtesy of Venki Ramakrishnan, PyMOL (Delano Scientific, www.pymol.org)

Research on one of the most important molecular "machines" in living cells is giving scientists clues to the development of new antibiotics and revealing secrets about how cells use the genetic information encoded in DNA, according to an article scheduled for the Feb. 19 issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

In the article, C&EN senior correspondent Stuart A. Borman explains that ribosomes translate DNA's message, encoded on messenger RNA (mRNA), and use it to synthesize thousands of different proteins that do most of the work in biology.

A ribosome can translate a limitless number of different mRNAs into proteins, just as a DVD player can translate the digital data on countless plastic discs into movies. Many cells contain hundreds of thousands of these protein factories, and some contain millions.

Borman describes fast-paced global research, which in barely a decade has transformed ribosomes from mystery structures into well-known entities that are targets for new drug development. Many antibiotics, for instance, work by interfering with the activity of ribosomes in bacteria. Ribosome research could help lead scientists to new types of antibiotics and there is at least one startup company focusing specifically on that topic, the article notes.


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Unraveling A Molecular Machine's Mysteries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220034730.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2007, February 20). Unraveling A Molecular Machine's Mysteries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220034730.htm
American Chemical Society. "Unraveling A Molecular Machine's Mysteries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220034730.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

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