One core, two shells: bacterial and eukaryotic ribosomes

Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2012 Jun 5;19(6):560-7. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2313.


Ribosomes are universally conserved enzymes that carry out protein biosynthesis. Bacterial and eukaryotic ribosomes, which share an evolutionarily conserved core, are thought to have evolved from a common ancestor by addition of proteins and RNA that bestow different functionalities to ribosomes from different domains of life. Recently, structures of the eukaryotic ribosome, determined by X-ray crystallography, have allowed us to compare these structures to previously determined structures of bacterial ribosomes. Here we describe selected bacteria- or eukaryote-specific structural features of the ribosome and discuss the functional implications of some of them.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / chemistry*
  • Bacteria / cytology*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Eukaryotic Cells / chemistry*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / cytology*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • RNA, Ribosomal / metabolism
  • Ribosomal Proteins / chemistry
  • Ribosomal Proteins / metabolism
  • Ribosomes / chemistry*
  • Ribosomes / metabolism


  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Ribosomal Proteins