Super-Computer Tracks Protein Builders

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Super-computer tracks protein builders, according to a report in ScienceNOW 27 October 2005. Proteins are made of small molecules called amino acids which need to be strung together in the correct order for the protein to function. The process of assembling proteins is carried out by a complex piece of cellular machinery called a ribosome. Individual amino acids are brought to the ribosome by molecules called transfer RNAs (tRNAs). Transfer RNAs must line up precisely with another molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA) which carries the information from DNA. To ensure the correct amino acids are lined up in the correct sequence each tRNA must match three genetic code letters with code letters on the mRNA.

To understand how tRNA move through the ribosome and matches code letters with the mRNA a team of scientists led by structural biologist Kevin Sanbonmatsu has used the sixth fastest supercomputer in the world to calculate all the molecular interactions involved and simulate the movement of the tRNA through the ribosome. They found that the tRNA has a previously unknown extra hinge where it holds the amino acid and the ribosome has a special loop that the tRNA must fit through. If the tRNA letters do not exactly fit the mRNA letters it will run into this loop rather than fit through it.

Editorial Comment: If it takes a team of clever scientists and a supercomputer just to follow the process of putting amino acids in the right place, imaging the creative genius of the Creator who designed and assembled the protein building machinery in the first place, without a supercomputer. Ribosomes contain over 50 different proteins and numerous types of RNA which must all work together in a very precise way. It is foolish to imagine that chance random processes invented the kind of precision machinery revealed by this study. (Ref. computers, synthesis, biochemistry)

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