Bacterial ribosome biogenesis is a multistep process requiring coordinated synthesis, RNA processing, and folding of three large ribosomal RNAs, and the translation, folding, modification, and binding of ~50 ribosomal proteins. Despite this complexity, the process is rapid and precise (bacteria produce ~100,000 ribosomes/h), and is guided by dozens of essential assembly factors that smooth the energetic landscape, resulting in efficient assembly. We have recently made exciting progress understanding how RNA folding and protein binding are linked through ‘cooperative folding domains’, and how assembly factors guide ribosome biogenesis (read more here).
The Davis lab is now actively working to understand
- What are the structures and compositions of assembly intermediates and how are they ordered along the assembly pathway?
- How does the cell utilize parallel assembly pathways during times of stress?
- When and where do assembly factors bind on the ribosomal subunits?
- How do essential assembly factors work in concert to guide the biogenesis process?