This proposal seeks continued support for exploration of structure and function of the ribosome actively engaged in protein synthesis, by cryo-electron microscopy and single-particle reconstruction. Several seminal discoveries regarding the dynamics of this process have been made in pursuit of this approach;among these the ratchet motion during mRNA-tRNA translocation and the spring-like deformation of the aminoacyl-tRNA as it enters the ribosome. The emphasis of the proposed studies is twofold: to characterize suitably stabilized transition states during both decoding and translocation at high resolution, and to study the time course of both processes using time-resolved cryo-electron microscopy (ms range) of pre-equilibrium samples. A novel monolithic microfluidic mixing and spraying device developed at the NCRR/NIH RVBC Resource at the Wadsworth Center in Albany will be tested and used in collaboration with the Resource, and the technology will be later transferred to the Columbia lab. Samples will be obtained from collaborators Drs. Rachel Green, Johns Hopkins University and Mans Ehrenberg, Uppsala University. Additional collaborations are in the areas of classification of heterogeneous samples and Molecular Dynamics simulations. Density maps when obtained at sufficient resolution will be analyzed by flexible fitting and interpreted in the rich context of structural, kinetics, single-molecule FRET, and biochemical data.
The ribosome performs protein synthesis in all cells. The research proposed will further the understanding of its functional dynamics, and thus contribute to a fundamental understanding of all life processes. Specifically, understanding the function of bacterial ribosomes is furthering our ability to combat drug resistance.
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