The determination of the high-resolution structures of ribosomal subunits in the year 2000 and of the entire ribosome a few years later are revolutionizing our understanding of the role of the ribosome in translation. In the present article, I summarize the main contributions from our laboratory to this worldwide effort. These include the determination of the structure of the 30S ribosomal subunit and its complexes with antibiotics, the role of the 30S subunit in decoding, and the high-resolution structure of the entire 70S ribosome complexed with mRNA and tRNA.

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