Crystallography confirms a long-held notion the RNA, not protein, sparks protein synthesis on the ribosome.
In a landmark achievement, Yale researchers have determined the atomic structure of the ribosome’s large subunit, paving the way for more effective drugs to fight infection.
The findings, published in two separate articles covering 25 pages in the Aug. 11 issue of the journal Science, were derived in Yale laboratories led by Thomas Steitz, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Peter Moore, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemistry.
“This is like climbing Mt. Everest or running the four-minute mile,” Steitz said. “We have solved the structure of the ribosome’s large subunit, which is the largest unique structure determined. We have established that the ribosome is a ribozyme, an enzyme in which catalysis is done by RNA, not protein.”