Eukaryotic ribosomes, the protein-producing factories of the cell, are composed of four ribosomal RNA molecules and roughly 80 proteins. Their biogenesis is a complex process that involves more than 200 biogenesis factors that facilitate the production, modification, and assembly of ribosomal components and the structural transitions along the maturation pathways of the pre-ribosomal particles. Here, I review recent structural and mechanistic insights into the biogenesis of the large ribosomal subunit that were furthered by cryo-electron microscopy of natively purified pre-60S particles and in vitro reconstituted ribosome assembly factor complexes. Combined with biochemical, genetic, and previous structural data, these structures have provided detailed insights into the assembly and maturation of the central protuberance of the 60S subunit, the network of biogenesis factors near the ribosomal tunnel exit, and the functional activation of the large ribosomal subunit during cytoplasmic maturation.
Keywords: 5S rRNA; cytoplasmic maturation; polypeptide exit tunnel; proofreading; ribosome assembly; structural biology.
© 2016 Greber; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.