Popular Science Presentation

All living cells are mainly built, organized and controlled by proteins. Proteins make up muscle fibers, hairs, and skin; work as receptors on cell walls transmitting external signals to the cell interior; transport molecules from one part of the cell or body to another; and, perhaps the most interesting feature, as enzymes catalyze and control almost all chemical reactions taking place inside the living cell. The synthesis of proteins by the huge macromolecular complexes called ribosomes, according to the genetic information stored in DNA, is thus one of the most fundamental processes in all life forms. This is also reflected in the considerable fraction of all known antibiotic drugs targeting the bacterial protein synthesis machinery.

From decades of experimental work a detailed picture have been painted of how ribosomes efficiently and accurately catalyze the assembly of amino acids into proteins according to the genetic code. However, we have very limited knowledge about the regulation and dynamics of protein synthesis, in particular inside living cells, one major problem being the vast number of ribosomes in the cell pursuing different tasks at any given moment. The sheer complexity of the protein synthesis system (do we know all the players yet?), and its interplay with other processes, make it very hard to connect the molecular details of protein synthesis with cell physiology and population biology, i.e. with the level at which selection pressure applies. In our research we try to connect all these dots, in space as well as time, to get a coherent picture of one of the most fundamental processes of life. We are studying components of the protein synthesis machinery, one by one, performing their daily work inside the living cell.

“Watch PhD student Filip Ilievski’s ”3 Minute Thesis Competition” presentation regarding his project on antibiotics”

Last modified: 2022-10-21