Decoding the Decoder
Molecular simulation of the ribosome
Inside a cell, the ribosome deciphers genetic codes to produce proteins at unfathomable speeds. Now, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have simulated this complex nano-machine in action. With 2.6 million atoms moving at once, it’s the largest molecular simulation ever attempted by a factor of six. The work by Kevin Sanbonmatsu, PhD, a computational structural biologist, and his colleagues at LANL revealed some new details about the essential translating molecule, transfer RNA: it must be flexible in two places for decoding to occur. The simulation also identified a new structural gate, which may act as a control mechanism for selecting the proper transfer RNA.