Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Walking Around Ribosomal Small Subunit: A Possible “Tourist Map” for an Electron Hole

Version 1 : Received: 22 July 2021 / Approved: 23 July 2021 / Online: 23 July 2021 (22:17:49 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Sosorev, A.Y. Walking around Ribosomal Small Subunit: A Possible “Tourist Map” for Electron Holes. Molecules 2021, 26, 5479. Sosorev, A.Y. Walking around Ribosomal Small Subunit: A Possible “Tourist Map” for Electron Holes. Molecules 2021, 26, 5479.


Despite several decades of research, the physics underlying translation – protein synthesis at the ribosome – remains poorly studied. For instance, the mechanism coordinating various events occurring in distant parts of the ribosome is unknown. Very recently, we have suggested that this allosteric mechanism could be based on the transport of electric charges (electron holes) along RNA molecules and localization of these charges in the functionally important areas; this assumption was justified using tRNA as an example. In this study, we turn to the ribosome and show computationally that holes can also efficiently migrate within the whole ribosomal small subunit (SSU). The potential sites of charge localization in SSU are revealed, and it is shown that most of them are located in the functionally important areas of the ribosome – intersubunit bridges, Fe4S4 cluster and the pivot linking the SSU head to the body. As a result, we suppose that hole localization within the SSU can affect intersubunit rotation (ratcheting) and SSU head swiveling, in agreement with the scenario of electronic coordination of ribosome operation. We anticipate that our findings will improve the understanding of the translation process and advance the molecular biology and medicine.


ribosome; RNA; charge transport; hopping model


Biology and Life Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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