• Scientists develop a new method for monitoring ribosome formation in real-time.
  • The new perspective is changing our understanding of cell biology and inner-cellular processes.


About the Research

The new research about ribosome formation is a collaborative effort between scientists from Sandford University and Scripps Research. The findings are available in the journal Cell.

New Insight into Ribosome Formation

Ribosomes are the building blocks of life. That is, they play a role in the formation of proteins based on RNA instructions. However, we knew little about how they form within the cell. With this research a new perspective is possible and it reveals that we have many misconceptions about the process.

Until now scientists believe that ribosomes follow a strict mechanism of formation that passes from one phase to another. Furthermore, it was thought that they follow this sequence of events step by step every time.

Because of the holes in our knowledge of cell function, researchers from Sandford University want to improve the observation methods. In light of that, they started using new technology for looking deep into cells. The invention in question here is the “zero-mode waveguide single-molecule fluorescence microscopy”.

With this new observational tool, scientists can look at ribosome formation in real-time. After looking at the process from a new view they conclude that the process looks nothing like they thought. Far from it, the process is hectic and one researcher from the project describes it as a cell stock market. Therefore, the entire process is a lot less orderly and it does not unfold following strict principles.

The new view on ribosome formation will improve our understanding of disease and mutations. Since the process is unpredictable, we can understand better why mistakes occur on a cellular level.

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  • Now that our perspective on ribosome formation is changing, we need to explore it further. That is, new experiments will extend our knowledge and help us learn about disease formation.