The ribosome carries out the synthesis of proteins in every living cell. It consequently represents a frontline target in anti-microbial therapy. Tuberculosis ranks among the leading causes of death worldwide, due in large part to the combination of difficult-to-treat latency and antibiotic resistance. Here, we present the 3.3-Å cryo-EM structure of the 70S ribosome of Mycobacterium smegmatis, a close relative to the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The structure reveals two additional ribosomal proteins and localizes them to the vicinity of drug-target sites in both the catalytic center and the decoding site of the ribosome. Furthermore, we visualized actinobacterium-specific rRNA and protein expansions that extensively remodel the ribosomal surface with implications for polysome organization. Our results provide a foundation for understanding the idiosyncrasies of mycobacterial translation and reveal atomic details of the structure that will facilitate the design of anti-tubercular therapeutics.
Keywords: Actinobacterium; Mycobacterium; antibiotic; cryo-EM; polysome; ribosome; translation.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.