Ribosome: Definition, Types, Function, & Examples

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Ribosomes Definition

Ribosomes are the site of protein synthesis, is a tiny, sphere-shaped particle made up of protein and ribonucleic acid (RNA).

What are Ribosomes?

Organelles make up the majority of a cell’s structure. An organelle is a lipid bilayer-encased structure. Organelles include the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi body , mitochondria, and chloroplast (plastid), although ribosomes and nucleosomes are not. Lysosomes and vacuoles, on the other contrary, are single-membrane cytoplasmic structures which do not qualify as organelles.

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Other sources, on the other hand, have less limitations. An organelle is a specialised component of a cell that serves a specific purpose. There are two sorts of organelles in this case: membrane-bound organelles (which include both double- and single-membraned cytoplasmic structures) and non-membrane-bound organelles.

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The nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, plastids, lysosomes, and vacuoles are indeed membrane-bound organelles. Non-membrane-bound organs include ribosomes, spliceosomes, vaults, proteasomes, DNA polymerase III holoenzyme, RNA polymerase II holoenzyme, photosystem I, ATP synthase, nucleosomes, centrioles, microtubule-organizing centres, cytoskeleton, flagellum, nucleolus, stress granules, as well as others.

The ribosome may be a sphere-shaped cytoplasmic structure that’s minute in size. Protein and ribonucleic acid make up the structure (RNA). It is where protein synthesis takes place. George Palade used his electron microscope to discover ribosomes as dense particles or granules in the mid-1950s. Richard B. Roberts, a physicist, coined the word ribosome in 1958.

A ribosome is a particle made up of two subunits that work together to create proteins based on the genetic code contained in messenger RNA (mRNA). The big and tiny subunits of ribosomes are usually found together. They come together during translation to catalyse the translation of mRNA into a polypeptide chain during protein synthesis, and ribosomes are also known as “ribozymes” since their active regions are comprised of RNA.

Prokaryotic Ribosome vs Eukaryotic Ribosome

Prokaryotic ribosomes (such as those found in bacteria) are smaller than eukaryotic ribosomes (e.g. plants and animals). Prokaryotic cells produce ribosomes in their cytoplasm. Both the cytoplasm and the nucleolus are involved in the synthesis of ribosomes in eukaryotic cells.

Ribosomes in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes are made from two ribosomal subunits. The sedimentation rate of ribosome subunits, represented by the Svedberg unit, is used to identify them (S).

The bacterial ribosome (70S) is made up of two subunits: 50S (large subunit) and 30S (small subunit) (small subunit). The eukaryotic ribosome (80S) is made up of two subunits: 60S (large subunit) and 40S (small subunit) (small subunit). Note that the S units do not add up since they are sedimentation rate measurements rather than mass measurements.

The 30S ribosomal subunit in prokaryotes possesses 16S rRNA, whereas the 50S ribosomal subunit contains 5S rRNA and 23S rRNA. The 18S rRNA is found in the 40S ribosomal subunit of mammals, while the 5S, 5.8S, and 28S rRNAs are found in the 60S ribosomal subunit.

Semi-autonomous organelles like chloroplasts and mitochondria in eukaryotes have 70S ribosomes that are almost like those in prokaryotes (e.g. bacteria). As a result, it’s thought that these eukaryotic organelles descended from their bacterial ancestors (see Endosymbiotic theory).

Ribosomes Types

Ribosomes in eukaryotes can be classed as either ‘free’ or ‘bound.’ As such, free ribosomes are seen floating in the cytoplasm, whereas bound ribosomes are bound to the endoplasmic reticulum (as such, they are called rough endoplasmic reticulum).

Bound ribosomes are engaged in the synthesis of proteins that will be exported or employed inside the cell membrane, whereas free ribosomes are involved in the synthesis of proteins that will function in the cytoplasm. The two types of ribosomes are functionally and structurally identical, and they can be used interchangeably.

In reality, the bound ribosomes are only temporarily connected to the ER. They are free to come and leave whenever they choose. When a signal peptide is produced by protein translation at the ribosome and subsequently identified by a signal recognition particle, it connects to the endoplasmic reticulum (through the translocon).

Ribosomes Function

The location of protein synthesis is referred to as ribosomes. Protein synthesis is the method of constructing protein molecules. The key processes in biological systems are amino acid synthesis, transcription, and translation. However, ribosomes are involved in translation. During translation, tRNAs add amino acids, which are subsequently joined together in the order indicated in the mRNA transcript.

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The biosynthesis of ribosomes is referred to as ribosome biogenesis. The cytoplasm and nucleus of eukaryotes are where ribosomes are formed. Eukaryotic ribosomes have an 80S ribosome, whereas prokaryotic ribosomes have a 70S ribosome. A big subunit (60S) plus a small subunit (80S) make up the 80S ribosome (40S).

Ribosomal protein and ribosomal RNA make up each of these components (s). Ribosomal proteins are made in the same way as other proteins, with transcription taking place in the nucleus and then translation and maturation taking place in the cytoplasm. Mature ribosomal proteins are returned to the nucleus, specifically the nucleolus, for ribosomal subunit assembly, like the 60S or 40S assembly.

The rRNA components of the 60S and 40S genes are produced in the nucleus. The catalytic activity of RNA polymerase I transcribes the rRNAs 18S, 28S, and 5.8S into a single unit pre-rRNA (referred to precisely as 45S pre-RNA) in the nucleolus organiser area of mammals.

The outcome is a huge pre-rRNA molecule made up of 18S, 28S, and 5.8S, which would be released separately following processing. The genes that code for 5S rRNA are translated into pre-5S rRNA by the RNA polymerase III. The pre-5S rRNA transcript, on the other hand, is made outside the nucleolus, in the nucleoplasm. Regardless, it makes its way to the nucleolus to begin the assembly process.

5S rRNA joins with 28S and 5.8S rRNA to create the major subunit (60S) of the ribosomal complex. By joining with ribosomal proteins, 18S creates the small subunit (i.e. 40S). These subunits would subsequently be transported from the nucleolus to the cytoplasm, where they would be assembled into a fully functional 80S ribosome.

The ribosome travels to each codon, matching it with the proper amino acid, using the mRNA as a template. Interacting with transfer RNA (tRNA), which has a complementary anticodon on one end and the corresponding amino acid on the other, accomplishes this.

A signal peptide is produced first for proteins that need to be packaged for transport (either within or outside the cell). Protein translation at the ribosome produces the signal peptide. This signal indicates that the protein will be processed further in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER).

The ribosome that is translating the protein attaches to the endoplasmic reticulum through the translocon when this signal is detected by a signal recognition particle. The ribosome then returns to the protein translation process. As the mRNA transcript is translated by the docked ribosome, the chain continues to expand.

The chain finally makes its way into the ER through the translocon, which bridges the membranes of the ER. In the ER lumen, a signal peptidase degrades the signal peptide. Chaperone proteins (such as ERp29, protein disulfide isomerase, BiP/Grp78, calnexin, and others) fold the nascent protein in the ER.

The correctly folded protein is subsequently packaged into a transport vesicle and transported to the Golgi apparatus, where it is matured for transport through the cytoskeleton to other cytoplasmic organelles such as lysosomes and peroxisomes, or for secretion out of the cell.

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