Summary
Ribosomes (ˈraɪbəˌsoʊm,_-boʊ-) are macromolecular machines, found within all cells, that perform biological protein synthesis (mRNA translation). Ribosomes link amino acids together in the order specified by the codons of messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules to form polypeptide chains. Ribosomes consist of two major components: the small and large ribosomal subunits. Each subunit consists of one or more ribosomal RNA (rRNA) molecules and many ribosomal proteins (RPs or r-proteins). The ribosomes and associated molecules are also known as the translational apparatus. The sequence of DNA that encodes the sequence of the amino acids in a protein is transcribed into a messenger RNA chain. Ribosomes bind to messenger RNAs and use their sequences for determining the correct sequence of amino acids to generate a given protein. Amino acids are selected and carried to the ribosome by transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules, which enter the ribosome and bind to the messenger RNA chain via an anti-codon stem loop. For each coding triplet (codon) in the messenger RNA, there is a unique transfer RNA that must have the exact anti-codon match, and carries the correct amino acid for incorporating into a growing polypeptide chain. Once the protein is produced, it can then fold to produce a functional three-dimensional structure. A ribosome is made from complexes of RNAs and proteins and is therefore a ribonucleoprotein complex. Each ribosome is composed of small (30S) and large (50S) components, called subunits, which are bound to each other: (30S) has mainly a decoding function and is also bound to the mRNA (50S) has mainly a catalytic function and is also bound to the aminoacylated tRNAs. The synthesis of proteins from their building blocks takes place in four phases: initiation, elongation, termination, and recycling. The start codon in all mRNA molecules has the sequence AUG. The stop codon is one of UAA, UAG, or UGA; since there are no tRNA molecules that recognize these codons, the ribosome recognizes that translation is complete.
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