Rebecca M. Voorhees

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The ribosome selects a correct transfer RNA (tRNA) for each amino acid added to the polypeptide chain, as directed by messenger RNA. Aminoacyl-tRNA is delivered to the ribosome by elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu), which hydrolyzes guanosine triphosphate (GTP) and releases tRNA in response to codon recognition. The signaling pathway that leads to GTP hydrolysis(More)
The termination of protein synthesis occurs through the specific recognition of a stop codon in the A site of the ribosome by a release factor (RF), which then catalyzes the hydrolysis of the nascent protein chain from the P-site transfer RNA. Here we present, at a resolution of 3.5 angstroms, the crystal structure of RF2 in complex with its cognate UGA(More)
Protein synthesis requires several guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) factors, including elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu), which delivers aminoacyl-transfer RNAs (tRNAs) to the ribosome. To understand how the ribosome triggers GTP hydrolysis in translational GTPases, we have determined the crystal structure of EF-Tu and aminoacyl-tRNA bound to the ribosome with(More)
Protein synthesis is catalyzed in the peptidyl transferase center (PTC), located in the large (50S) subunit of the ribosome. No high-resolution structure of the intact ribosome has contained a complete active site including both A- and P-site tRNAs. In addition, although past structures of the 50S subunit have found no ordered proteins at the PTC,(More)
Cotranslational protein translocation is a universally conserved process for secretory and membrane protein biosynthesis. Nascent polypeptides emerging from a translating ribosome are either transported across or inserted into the membrane via the ribosome-bound Sec61 channel. Here, we report structures of a mammalian ribosome-Sec61 complex in both idle and(More)
The sequential addition of amino acids to a growing polypeptide chain is carried out by the ribosome in a complicated multistep process called the elongation cycle. It involves accurate selection of each aminoacyl tRNA as dictated by the mRNA codon, catalysis of peptide bond formation, and movement of the tRNAs and mRNA through the ribosome. The process(More)
Secreted and integral membrane proteins compose up to one-third of the biological proteome. These proteins contain hydrophobic signals that direct their translocation across or insertion into the lipid bilayer by the Sec61 protein-conducting channel. The molecular basis of how hydrophobic signals within a nascent polypeptide trigger channel opening is not(More)
The ribosome converts genetic information into protein by selecting aminoacyl tRNAs whose anticodons base-pair to an mRNA codon. Mutations in the tRNA body can perturb this process and affect fidelity. The Hirsh suppressor is a well-studied tRNA(Trp) harboring a G24A mutation that allows readthrough of UGA stop codons. Here we present crystal structures of(More)
The ribosome has an active site comprised of RNA that catalyzes peptide bond formation. To understand how RNA promotes this reaction requires a detailed understanding of the chemical transition state. Here, we report the Brønsted coefficient of the alpha-amino nucleophile with a series of puromycin derivatives. Both 50S subunit- and 70S ribosome-catalyzed(More)
Decoding of the AUA isoleucine codon in bacteria and archaea requires modification of a C in the anticodon wobble position of the isoleucine tRNA. Here, we report the crystal structure of the archaeal tRNA2(Ile), which contains the modification agmatidine in its anticodon, in complex with the AUA codon on the 70S ribosome. The structure illustrates how(More)