The X-ray beamlines at the APS were especially suited to the Nobel-winning work because they allowed the researchers to focus their beams to a very small diameter, enabling them to view the assembly's subunits with much finer detail than ever before.
The improved knowledge of the structure and function of the ribosome -- especially in bacteria -- has opened up a new avenue of medical research as scientists try to identify antibiotics that can interfere with bacterial protein synthesis, according to Joachimiak. "This is one of the most important processes that occurs within the cell, and the work done at Argonne provided one of the first opportunities for scientists to truly look 'under the hood' at the biochemical mechanisms that underpin it," he said.
In all, the SBC has contributed to 69 studies of ribosomes and ribosomal subunits, according to Joachimiak.
Steitz and Ramakrishnan also performed studies at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York; Steitz also performed work at the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California; and Yonath and Ramakrishnan also completed experiments at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France. Although most of the Argonne Nobel-related work was performed at the SBC's beamline at the APS, Steitz and Yonath also used two other APS beamlines: GMCA-CAT and BIOCARS. Yonath is also a member of the SBC advisory committee.
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