Project Overview

Translation of the genetic information from a nucleotide sequence into a functional protein is a central biological process. The aim of this collaborative project is to uncover dynamic aspects of the ribosome function in translation on different levels, from atomic analysis to a global-scale stochastic behavior. Both, prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems will be used as research objects which will provide invaluable insights into common principles and divergent features in translation dynamics and regulation across the species. We will use a combination of interdisciplinary approaches, including high-resolution structural studies (single and multi-particle cryo-EM and X-ray crystallography), biophysical (kinetics, molecular dynamics simulation, stochastic modeling), and biochemical (quantitative mass spectrometry, ribosomal profiling probed with the power of highly parallel deep sequencing) approaches. The team we have assembled consolidates the scientific expertise across Germany on ribosome function and protein translation to unravel molecular details on (i) the role of various translation factors on the metastable energy landscape of the translating ribosome, (ii) the speed and accuracy in translation of single codon and whole open-reading frame, (iii) the impact of external factors (antibiotics, environmental stress) on translation fidelity and processivity, and (iv) the link between translation and protein assembly and function. On a long-term scale, we believe that merging the research activities with a focus on the ribosome, as crucial molecular machinery for the cell, will provide unprecedented insights into central molecular aspects of the ribosome function and dynamics, ultimately enabling us to generate an integrated view of the molecular choreography of the processes orchestrated by the ribosome.