An international collaboration among researchers from Finland, Sweden, UK and the USA has captured ribosomes translating messenger RNA expressed from the maternally inherited mitochondrial genome. Utilising the latest advances in cryo-electron microscopy, the group discovered a novel mechanism that mitochondrial ribosomes use for the synthesis and delivery of newly made proteins to prevent premature misfolding. Disruptions to protein folding can lead to devastating human diseases.
There is a familiar saying, “It’s all in the genes”. As modern archaeology reveals, the DNA that encodes genes can be found among the remnants of our ancestors and from any organism, small and large, that once roamed the earth. The genetic blueprint alone is not sufficient; life requires the faithful expression and translation of our genomes. Basic research in molecular biology has revealed in beautiful detail the mechanisms by which these fundamental processes operate. One of these pioneering discoveries was that of Nobel Prize winners François Jacob and Jacques Monod, who established the paradigm that we now know as cellular gene expression, whereby the information in our genome is transcribed, read and converted into functional proteins. Since then, researchers young and old have been filling in the details of these incredible processes to uncover the complexity of biology.
In a recent study published in Science an international collaboration of researchers, involving University of Helsinki