Protein synthesis by the ribosome is accompanied by a number of large conformational changes. For example, the ribosome undergoes cyclic forward and reverse rotations between the large and small ribosomal subunits. Conformational changes within ribosomes are coupled to structural rearrangements of translational factors that bind to the ribosome to mediate different steps of protein synthesis.
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mRNA has an intrinsic propensity to form extensive secondary structure. Structured regions of mRNA are known to regulate mRNA splicing, translation and degradation. In collaboration with the Mathews lab (University of Rochester), we recently showed that all mRNAs and lncRNAs intrinsically form secondary structures with short end-to-end distances (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30337527 ). We now explore biological implications of this structural feature of RNA molecules.
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Over the last decade, multiple findings have illuminated the importance of the regulation of protein expression at the level of mRNA translation. mRNA is no longer considered a simple courier of genetic information between DNA and protein. For example, numerous studies begin to reveal that structured elements within the mRNA play a critical role in modulating the flow of genetic information from DNA to protein.
Learn more about Regulation of protein synthesis by mRNA structure