Evolutionary shift toward protein-based architecture in trypanosomal mitochondrial ribosomes

Ramrath, David J. F.; Niemann, Moritz; Leibundgut, Marc; Bieri, Philipp; Prange, Céline; Horn, Elke; Leitner, Alexander; Boehringer, Daniel; Schneider, André; Ban, Nenad (2018). Evolutionary shift toward protein-based architecture in trypanosomal mitochondrial ribosomes. Science, 362(6413), eaau7735. American Association for the Advancement of Science 10.1126/science.aau7735

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Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) plays key functional and architectural roles in ribosomes. Using electron microscopy, we determined the atomic structure of a highly divergent ribosome found in mitochondria of Trypanosoma brucei, a unicellular parasite that causes sleeping sickness in humans. The trypanosomal mitoribosome features the smallest rRNAs and contains more proteins than all known ribosomes. The structure shows how the proteins have taken over the role of architectural scaffold from the rRNA: they form an autonomous outer shell that surrounds the entire particle and stabilizes and positions the functionally important regions of the rRNA. Our results also reveal the "minimal" set of conserved rRNA and protein components shared by all ribosomes that help us define the most essential functional elements.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Niemann, Moritz; Horn, Elke and Schneider, André


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry




American Association for the Advancement of Science




Christina Schüpbach

Date Deposited:

01 Nov 2018 14:27

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 18:13

Publisher DOI:


Related URLs:

Additional Information:

see related article by P. M. Moore "In Which the Deity Attempts To Make a Ribose-Free Ribosome"





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