Elongation factors in protein biosynthesis

Trends Biochem Sci. 2003 Aug;28(8):434-41. doi: 10.1016/S0968-0004(03)00162-2.


Translation elongation factors are the workhorses of protein synthesis on the ribosome. They assist in elongating the nascent polypeptide chain by one amino acid at a time. The general biochemical outline of the translation elongation cycle is well preserved in all biological kingdoms. Recently, there has been structural insight into the effects of antibiotics on elongation. These structures provide a scaffold for understanding the biological function of elongation factors before high-resolution structures of such factors in complex with ribosomes are obtained. Very recent structures of the yeast translocation factor and its complex with the antifungal drug sordarin reveal an unexpected conformational flexibility that might be crucial to the mechanism of translocation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Indenes
  • Models, Molecular
  • Peptide Elongation Factors / chemistry*
  • Peptide Elongation Factors / physiology*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Ribosomes / metabolism
  • Thermus thermophilus / metabolism


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Indenes
  • Peptide Elongation Factors
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors
  • sordarin