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First Detailed Images of Complete Ribosome Captured
Sep 1999
SANTA CRUZ, Calif., Sept. 28 -- Scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have obtained images of the complete structure of the ribosome, the molecular machine that translates the genetic code and synthesizes proteins. The images illustrate how the ribosome's various parts interact with one another and how the ribosome interacts with certain molecules involved in protein synthesis. What we have at present are a few snapshots, and ultimately what we would like is a movie of the ribosome in action, said Harry Noller, UCSC's Sinsheimer Professor of Molecular Biology and leader of the group that captured the images. The group's findings are presented in Science magazine.
Noller's group used x-ray crystallography to obtain the images. The procedure involved growing crystals of purified ribosomes, shining a focused beam of x-rays through the crystals, and analyzing the resulting diffraction pattern. The complete ribosome is the largest molecular structure ever captured in its entirety by x-ray crystallography.

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