A recent intermezzo at the Ribosome Club

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Two sets of ribosome structures have recently led to two different interpretations of what limits the accuracy of codon translation by transfer RNAs. In this review, inspired by this intermezzo at the Ribosome Club, we briefly discuss accuracy amplification by energy driven proofreading and its implementation in genetic code translation. We further discuss general ways by which the monitoring bases of 16S rRNA may enhance the ultimate accuracy (d-values) and how the codon translation accuracy is reduced by the actions of Mg2+ ions and the presence of error inducing aminoglycoside antibiotics. We demonstrate that complete freezing-in of cognate-like tautomeric states of ribosome-bound nucleotide bases in transfer RNA or messenger RNA is not compatible with recent experiments on initial codon selection by transfer RNA in ternary complex with elongation factor Tu and GTP. From these considerations, we suggest that the sets of 30S subunit structures from the Ramakrishnan group and 70S structures from the Yusupov/Yusupova group may, after all, reflect two sides of the same coin and how the structurally based intermezzo at the Ribosome Club may be resolved simply by taking the dynamic aspects of ribosome function into account. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Perspectives on the ribosome’.


External organisations
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


  • Initial transfer RNA selection, Proofreading, Ribosome, Tautomers, Translation accuracy
Original languageEnglish
Article number20160185
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1716
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 19
Publication categoryResearch