Probing electrostatics in the ribosomal exit tunnel
All proteins in the cell are manufactured by a large RNA-protein complex known as the ribosome. Our lab aims to understand how naturally occurring peptide sequences lead to stalling of protein biosynthesis inside a functioning ribosome. While we can biochemically measure interactions between the newly synthesized protein and the ribosome and study a limited number of structures at subatomistic resolution using cryo-EM, high resolution electrostatic surface mapping of the ribosomal exit tunnel can provide us with a deeper understanding of how specific protein residues contribute to the speed and efficiency of translation. It will also answer questions about the role that protein components of the ribosome play in the synthesis of new polypeptides, which to this point is poorly understood.