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Computational microscope peers into the working ribosome
Date:11/23/2009

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"We simulated the process of translocation of a (protein) out of the ribosome and into the SecY channel," said James (J.C.) Gumbart, a postdoctoral researcher at Illinois and first author on the Structure study. "And so we find that even though these loops are inserted into the (ribosome's) exit tunnel, they are not disturbed, nor do they get in the way of a nascent protein coming out."

Schulten directs the theoretical and computational biophysics group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. He and his colleagues pioneered the MDFF approach and, thanks to support from the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health, have made its software freely available to more than 160,000 users, he said.

Crystallographers and those doing cryo-EM are enthusiastically embracing MDFF, Schulten said, as this software can be used to tease out the elusive details of otherwise ambiguous data.

In these and other upcoming studies, Schulten and his colleagues are using the computer as a microscope to get a clearer picture of the dynamics of the ribosome, which is perhaps the cell's most essential, and most complex, molecular machine.


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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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