Venki Ramakrishnan

Structure of the translational apparatus
Personal group site

The ribosome is central to protein synthesis in all cells. Some years ago, we solved the structure of the 30S ribosomal subunit and its complex with several antibiotics as well as its mRNA and tRNA ligands. These studies shed light on the role of the ribosome in the decoding of mRNA and on antibiotic function. More recently, we have solved the high-resolution structure of the entire ribosome complexed to mRNA and tRNA.

We are currently trying to trap the ribosome at different stages along the translation pathway and study these complexes by X-ray crystallography to help understand the detailed mechanisms involved in the process.

A second area of interest is the study of the steps in eukaryotic translational initiation by both cryoelectron microscopy and crystallography.

Translational initiation has been implicated in phenomena as disparate as cancer, memory and viral infection, and involves about a dozen initiation factors that bind to the small subunit of the ribosome at various stages.

Selected Papers

Group Members

  • Israel Sanchez Fernandez
  • Alexey Amunts
  • Tanweer Hussain
  • José Llácer Guerri
  • Alan Brown
  • Nathan James
  • Yuliya Gordiyenko
  • Jason Murray
  • Brian Wimberly
  • Acer Xu