Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Ribosomes: Unlocking the secrets to your cellular protein factories

By Dyani Lewis

Nobel laureate Prof Ada Yonath discusses her work on understanding ribosomes – the protein factories that are found in every cell of every living organism.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Hi I'm Dyani Lewis. Thanks for joining us. If I were to say the word, protein, you'd probably think of a juicy steak or perhaps a muscle-building protein shake. But in our bodies proteins give us far more than just muscular bulk. They're the enzymes that carry out cellular reactions, the microscopic sensors that allow us to detect the smell of a rose or the pain of a burn. They're the cement that connects our cells together; give our nose cartilage its rigidity and our skin its elasticity and they serve all of these incredible functions in organisms from the lowly bacterium to the majestic Sequoia and everything in between.

But proteins in their myriad forms could not exist without a complex piece of cellular machinery known as the ribosome. As important as it is, the ribosome, unlike the proteins it makes, is hardly a household name. But today on Up Close we get an intimate tour of the ribosome, led by perhaps one of the best qualified people to speak about it. Professor Ada Yonath won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 for her pioneering work on the structure of the ribosome. She's now the Director of the Helen and Milton A Kimmelman Centre for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.