Tue Apr 4, 2017
Robert L. Sinsheimer Prof. Emeritus of Molecular Biology
Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology
Director, Center for Molecular Biology of RNA
"The Ribosome: Mother Ship of Life"
UCSC Music Recital Hall
Free and Open to Public
Ribosomes are responsible for synthesis of protein in all living organisms, translating genetic information from the language of DNA and RNA into the unrelated language of protein, via the genetic code. Ribosomes are unusual in that they are made of both protein and RNA. Contrary to expectations that their proteins are responsible for their function, it turns out that all of their basic functions are based on their RNAs. This discovery provides a link to the origins of life in an "RNA World", in which RNA invented both DNA and protein. X-ray crystallography has provided high-resolution pictures of the vast three-dimensional structures of ribosomes, which are revealing machine-like movements of the ribosome based on the mechanical properties of its RNA molecules.