Purification of ribosomes from human cell lines

Curr Protoc Cell Biol. 2010 Dec:Chapter 3:Unit 3.40. doi: 10.1002/0471143030.cb0340s49.


Highly conserved during evolution, the ribosome is the central effector of protein synthesis. In mammalian cells, the ribosome is a macromolecular complex composed of four different ribosomal RNAs (rRNA) and about 80 ribosomal proteins. Requiring more than 200 factors, ribosome biogenesis is a highly complex process that takes place mainly within the nucleoli of eukaryotic cells. Crystallographic data suggest that the ribosome is a ribozyme, in which the rRNA catalyses the peptide bond formation and ensures quality control of the translation. Ribosomal proteins are involved in this molecular mechanism; nonetheless, their role is still not fully characterized. Recent studies suggest that ribosomes themselves and/or the mechanisms underlying their synthesis, processing, and assembly play a key role in the establishment and progression of several human pathologies. The protocol described here is simple, efficient, and robust, and allows one to purify high-quality ribosomes from human cultured cell lines. Ribosomes purified with this protocol are adequate for most of the subsequent analyses of their RNA and protein content.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Fractionation / methods*
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Ribosomes / genetics
  • Ribosomes / metabolism*