Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just a crazy idea (warning, technical)

This is officially the first time I actually say something "serious" about science on this blog. I don't know if there are any who will read this who will have the knowledge to even understand this, but I mainly want to record this somewhere in the off case that it turns out to be correct.

Anyway, I have had a long-standing interest in the ribosome, and recently I read a structural paper in Cell reporting the structure of the ribosome in complex with a ribonuclease called RelE. This is a heck of a weird RNase, as it cuts messenger RNA as it is being translated, in the middle of a codon that's about to be read.

The authors show very convincingly that the RNA is NOT cleaved between the first and second nucleotides of the codon, but that it is cleaved between the second and third nucleotide. In the structure, this site lines up with a site on RelE that corresponds to the active site in a number of related RNases, and that's all well and good.