Structure and function of ribosomes
Dr Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
Medical Research Council
The genes in our DNA contain information to make the thousands of proteins that carry out the many functions of the cell. Mitochondria also make their own proteins. Many genetic diseases are caused by defects in mitochondria, so it is important to understand how they make their proteins.
We will find out how ribosomes translate genetic information to make proteins. The process is highly complex and controlled so that cells make proteins in the right amounts only when they need them. When the process goes awry, it can lead to various diseases including cancer. In other cases, viruses can hijack the process to make their own proteins.
Apart from its fundamental importance to biology, this work may help us understand the basis of certain diseases.