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  • Researchers observe spontaneous 'ratcheting' of single ribosome molecules

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      Physics professor Taekjip Ha and postdoctoral fellow Peter Cornish report that they are the first to observe the dynamic, ratchet-like movements of single ribosomal molecules in the act of building proteins from genetic blueprints. In the animation, the small (yellow) and large (blue) subunits of the ribosome ratchet back and forth between the classical (non-rotated) and hybrid (rotated) states during protein translation. These two states were first imaged via cryo-electron microscopy by Joachim Frank at the Wadsworth Center in Albany, NY. The red and green spheres represent fluorescent molecules used in the FRET analysis conducted at Illinois. Animation created by Elizabeth Villa, Leonardo Trabuco and Klaus Schulten, U. of I.

      Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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