Date Published: March 12, 2013
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Roland G. Roberts
Partial Text: The ribosome is at the core of cellular life. It’s the incredible machine that trundles along gene transcripts (mRNAs), translating them three letters at a time into the proteins that run most of the workings of the cell. The translation process requires little L-shaped adapters called tRNAs—one end of these recognizes a specific three-letter word (codon) on the mRNA, while the other end carries the corresponding amino acid. The ribosome then glues the amino acids together and shoves the growing protein chain out through an exit tunnel in the back of the ribosome (see Figure 1A).