Profiles of Leading Women Scientists on AcademiaNet – an initiative of the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Search among the members of the Leopoldina for experts in specific fields or research topics.
Major Scientific Interests: Ribosomes, protein biosynthesis, proteins, translation, crystal structure, antibiotics
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Thomas A. Seitz and Ada Yonath in 2009. The three scientists decoded the ribosome, the cell’s protein factory. They described the three-dimensional structure of ribosomes and the mechanism of protein production.
Ribosomes are molecular complexes that consist of hundreds of thousands of atoms, which are in turn divided into two subunits. During protein biosynthesis, or translation, ribosomes translate genetic information into proteins. Proteins carry out a wide range of tasks within an organism and are responsible for the entire metabolism. With his research, Ramakrishnan has contributed to our understanding of translation. Using X-ray structure analysis, he investigated the ribosomes of the bacterium Thermus thermophilus and, in the same year as Yonath, decoded the structure of the smaller subunit. Almost at the same time, Seitz published the first description of the larger subunit’s crystal structure. The insights of these three researchers have contributed to our understanding of protein genesis – one of the fundamental processes of life.
In another research paper, Ramakrishnan investigated the relationship of the ribosomal subunit to various antibiotic agents. Many antibiotic substances dock at the ribosomes of bacteria, thereby blocking them. However, some substances have ceased to be effective, and the increasing rate of antibiotic resistance presents a challenge for medicine. Ramakrishnan and his colleagues hope that their research can be used to develop a new generation of antibiotic agents. The goal is to find substances that inhibit the protein synthesis of bacterial ribosomes in a more targeted way, that put pathogens out of commission, and that lead to fewer cases of resistance.
06108 Halle (Saale)
|Phone||0345 - 47 239 - 122|
|Fax||0345 - 47 239 - 139|