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Ribosomes are optimized for autocatalytic production

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Abstract

Many fine-scale features of ribosomes have been explained in terms of function, revealing a molecular machine that is optimized for error-correction, speed and control. Here we demonstrate mathematically that many less well understood, larger-scale features of ribosomes—such as why a few ribosomal RNA molecules dominate the mass and why the ribosomal protein content is divided into 55–80 small, similarly sized segments—speed up their autocatalytic production.

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Acknowledgements

S.R. was supported by a James S. McDonnell Foundation fellowship. S.R. and J.P. were supported by NSF-DMS grant PD127334 and NIH grant R01GM095784. J.P. and M.E. were supported by HFSP grant RGP0042 and M.E. was further supported by the Swedish Research Council and the Wallenberg Foundation (RiboCORE). We are grateful to R. Ward, A. Hilfinger, R. Milo, R. Jajoo and M. Landon for discussions.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Systems Biology, HMS, Harvard University, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

    • Shlomi Reuveni
    •  & Johan Paulsson
  2. Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Uppsala University, Uppsala Biomedicinska Centrum (BMC) Husargatan 3, Uppsala, Sweden

    • Måns Ehrenberg

Authors

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Contributions

S.R. and J.P. conceived the work, derived results and wrote the paper. M.E. contributed extensive advice and ideas.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Johan Paulsson.

Reviewer Information Nature thanks I. Golding, M. Oeffinger, S. Klumpp and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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    Supplementary Information

    This file contains Supplementary Text and Data – see contents page for details.

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    Supplementary Data

    This file contains a list of proteomes.