Using a supercomputer to simulate the movement of atoms in a ribosome, researchers looked into the core of this protein-making nanomachine and took snapshots. The picture shows an amino acid (green) being delivered by transfer RNA (yellow) into a corridor (purple) in the ribosome. In the corridor, a series of chemical reactions will string together amino acids to make a protein. The research project, which tracked the movement of more than 2.6 million atoms, was the largest computer simulation of a biological structure to date. The results shed light on the manufacturing of proteins and could aid the search for new antibiotics, which typically work by disabling the ribosomes of bacteria.
Featured in the November 15, 2005, issue of Biomedical Beat.
Image Source: Kevin Sanbonmatsu, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Credits: Kevin Sanbonmatsu, Los Alamos National Laboratory,
Research Stir, S.P.C.