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Ribosome research may offer insights

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A groundbreaking study of the human ribosome is revealing that the tiny molecular machine is more versatile than previously understood.
Minor changes in its sequencing can change its operation, allowing it to adapt to a changing environment, as described in a paper published Wednesday in Cell.
“From a practical standpoint, these first studies of the atomistic mechanism of the human ribosome open a window into a range of diseases, from anemia, to cancer, to Alzheimer’s,” said researcher Karissa Sanbonmatsu of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The new publication shows the first study of decoding the genetic code by human ribosomes in atomic detail.
“Cracking the mechanism of human ribosomes will have applications to a variety of diseases, so we are now seeing the real payoff of over a decade of computer simulations of the ribosome,” Sanbonmatsu said.
For more than a decade, LANL has been involved in applying computational approaches for modeling the structure and dynamic aspects of large and biologically important molecular machines such as the ribosome.


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