Who Discovered Ribosomes

Known as complexes of protein and RNA present in cells that have nuclei, ribosomes are important to the process in the genetic code expression called translation. These RNA complexes are responsible for messenger RNA (also known as mRNA) binding. Aside from this, it is also important to make the appropriate amino acids sequence. To know more about the functions and characteristics of the protein complexes, it is best if we start with learning the truth behind the discovery of ribosomes.

Historical Background

Who discovered ribosomes? The RNA complexes were observed and discovered by cell biologist from Rome George Palade in the mid-1950s with the use of a high-powered electron microscope. Because of his discovery, Palade received the Nobel Prize. However, the name was given in 1958 by scientist Richard B. Roberts.

Palade identified ribosomes when he and collaborator Philip Siekevit analyzed the molecules that are connected to the endoplasmic reticulum in 1955. The two scientists found that the RNA complexes are essential to the production of protein needed by the cell. Palade did other studies related to the functions of the molecules. Because of his discovery, he received the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Additional Information and Other Important Details

Ribosomes can be classified as either membrane-bound or free. The two types of the molecules have similar functions and structure but these only differ in terms of spatial distribution. Those that are classified as free can move in the cytosol. On the other hand, those that are classified as membrane-bound can only move in the endoplasmic reticulum.

When it comes to the functions of the molecules, these play a significant role in protein biosynthesis. With the use of the messenger RNA, the molecules pair each codon of mRNA with the amino acid found in transfer RNA (also known as tRNA).

The subunits of the molecules that are found in eukaryotes and prokaryotes are quite the same. The unit of measurement used to refer to ribosomes is the Svedberg unit. With the use of an electron microscope, people can find 70 Svedberg RNA complexes in prokaryotes. Each of the complexes has 30 Svedberg small subunits and 50 Svedberg large subunits. On the other hand, people can see 80 Svedberg ribosomes in eukaryotes. Each of the protein complexes found in eukaryotes has 40 Svedberg small subunits as well as 60 Svedberg large subunits. Knowing the differences between the characteristics of RNA complexes in prokaryotes and eukaryotes are important to the development of antibiotics.

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