Atomic model of the Thermus thermophilus 70S ribosome developed in silico.

Biophysical Journal 87(4):2714 (2004) PMID 15454463 PMCID PMC1304690

The ribosome is a large molecular complex that consists of at least three ribonucleic acid molecules and a large number of proteins. It translates genetic information from messenger ribonucleic acid and makes protein accordingly. To better understand ribosomal function and provide information for designing biochemical experiments require knowledge of the complete structure of the ribosome. For expanding the structural information of the ribosome, we took on the challenge of developing a detailed Thermus thermophilus ribosomal structure computationally. By combining information derived from the low-resolution x-ray structure of the 70S ribosome (providing the overall fold), high-resolution structures of the ribosomal subunits (providing the local structure), sequences, and secondary structures, we have developed an atomic model of the T. thermophilus ribosome using a homology modeling approach. Our model is stereochemically sound with a consistent single-species sequence. The overall folds of the three ribosomal ribonucleic acids in our model are consistent with those in the low-resolution crystal structure (root mean-square differences are all <1.9 angstroms). The large overall interface area (approximately 2500 angstroms2) of intersubunit bridges B2a, B3, and B5, and the inherent flexibility in regions connecting the contact residues are consistent with these bridges serving as anchoring patches for the ratcheting and rolling motions between the two subunits during translocation. Copyright 2004 Biophysical Society