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Upcoming Event

Initiation of Translation in Eukaryotes

The Norton Zinder Lecture

Event Details

Friday Lecture Series
Venki Ramakrishnan, Ph.D., group leader, structural studies division, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Speaker bio(s)

Initiation of translation in eukaryotes is a key step in regulation that underpins many fundamental biological processes. While in bacteria, initiation involves only three factors and an initiator tRNA, in eukaryotes, the process involves a dozen factors that help recruit the small ribosomal subunit to the 5’ end of mRNA and with the help of a helicase, scan along the mRNA until the start codon is reached and protein synthesis can begin. Recently the Ramakrishnan laboratory has made progress in determining structures of initiation complexes, which have clear mechanistic implications including the role of helicases in the process.

Venki Ramakrishnan has a long-standing interest in ribosome structure and function. His work led to the first high-resolution structure of the small ribosomal subunit, and was followed by structures of functional complexes of the entire ribosome in different states along the translational pathway. In the last decade, his lab has been applying cryoelectron microscopy to study eukaryotic and mitochondrial translation, particularly initiation of translation and its regulation. Since 1999, he has been on the scientific staff of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. He is the author of two popular books: Gene Machine and Why We Die.

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