Research by Professor Koji Tamura's group of the Department of Biological Science and Technology in the Faculty of Advanced Engineering has been discussed in the NEWS FEATURE of the Journal Nature.
This article focusing on research into the evolutionary origins of the ribosome, which performs biological protein synthesis, discusses research conducted by Doctor Ada Yonath, a recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and her group, as well as research conducted by Professor Tamura and his group (published in the journal Life in 2022).
The researches of both Doctor Yonath's and Professor Tamura's groups were focused on the symmetrical arrangement of RNA in the peptidyl transferase center (PTC) of the ribosome, an area which contributes to formation of peptide bonds between aminoacylated tRNAs. A simple model of the PTC was proposed based on the RNA structure constituing the PTC, and this model RNA successfully assisted peptide bond formation.
However, in contrast to Doctor Yonath's group, which used artificial molecules as substrates, Professor Tamura's group utilized "minihelices" (model of primordial tRNAs) with attached amino acids, thus indicating that these played an important role in the evolutionary journey from primordial tRNA to the current protein synthesis system.
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■ TUS Press Release
Bonds From the Past: A Journey Through the History of Protein Synthesis