Seeing is believing: revealing the cell's protein factory and how antibiotics block it

July 25, 2016 3:45 - 5:00 pm

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All cells have thousands of proteins that carry out the essential functions of life. The information to make proteins resides in our genes, each of which specifies a particular protein. That information is read by a large molecule called the ribosome, which uses the information to make the protein specified by each gene. The ribosome consists of hundreds of thousands of atoms, and because it is an ancient molecule, the ribosomes of humans differ from those of bacteria. This difference allows many useful antibiotics work by specifically blocking the bacterial ribosome without affecting our own. I will talk about how it has been possible to see the ribosome in atomic detail, thus providing insights into how it works and how antibiotics block it at many different steps.

Introduced by Klaus Bock, European Research Council

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