Mechanism of Protein Synthesis
We study the mechanism of protein synthesis using ensemble and single molecule fluorescent methods. The ribosome is a central component of cell metabolism, an extremely complex and highly dynamic machine. We are interested to learn how structural dynamics of the ribosome and ribosomal ligands enable protein synthesis.
During proteins synthesis, ribosomes move along mRNA. This movement is coupled to translocation of tRNAs inside of the ribosome. It has been discovered that translocation requires ratchet-like intersubunit rotation. We are trying to understand the mechanics of this ratchet mechanism.
There are other types of ribosome movements besides codon-by-codon translocation, such as programmed frame-shifting, ribosome shunting on poly-cistronic mRNAs and ribosome scanning during initiation of protein synthesis in eukaryotes. We are expanding our research toward investigation of molecular mechanism of these specialized translocation events.