Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Key piece of puzzle sheds light on function of ribosomes

Date:
January 13, 2010
Source:
Uppsala University
Summary:
When ribosomes produce protein in all living cells, they do so through a chemical reaction that happens so fast that scientists have been puzzled. Using large quantum mechanical calculations of the reaction center of the ribosome, researchers can now provide the first detailed picture of the reaction.

When ribosomes produce protein in all living cells, they do so through a chemical reaction that happens so fast that scientists have been puzzled. Using large quantum mechanical calculations of the reaction center of the ribosome, researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden can now provide the first detailed picture of the reaction. 

Related Articles


It was previously known how the chemical reaction goes about adding amino acids to the growing protein. Both computer simulations and x-ray crystallographic experiments have identified a hydrogen bonding network that appears to be the main explanation for the high speed of the reaction. What is especially remarkable is the presence of a couple of "trapped" water molecules seem to be the only parts of the ribosome that are in contact with the reacting chemical groups.

Doctoral candidate Göran Wallin and Professor Johan Ĺqvist at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Uppsala University have carried out large-scale calculations of the ribosome reaction center, and this has enabled them to monitor the changes electronic structure during the reaction. With about a thousand quantum mechanical optimizations, they have succeeded in establishing exactly what the highest point of the energy surface looks like, the point that determines the speed of the reaction.

"Our calculations provide a detailed picture of the reaction and show that the two water molecules play a central role in ribosome catalysis. One of the molecules participates directly in the reaction by 'shuffling' protons around, while the other one helps increase the speed of the reaction," explains Johan Ĺqvist.

The findings surprisingly show that it is just a few components in the ribosome's reaction center that induce the catalytic effect, whereas the surrounding structure mainly holds them in place.

"An exciting question for future research is whether these components are a vestige of a primordial and much simpler ribosome," says Johan Ĺqvist.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Wallin et al. The transition state for peptide bond formation reveals the ribosome as a water trap. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914192107

Cite This Page:

Uppsala University. "Key piece of puzzle sheds light on function of ribosomes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113091650.htm>.
Uppsala University. (2010, January 13). Key piece of puzzle sheds light on function of ribosomes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113091650.htm
Uppsala University. "Key piece of puzzle sheds light on function of ribosomes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113091650.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins