We located the polypeptide nascent chain as it leaves cytoplasmic ribosomes from the plant Lemna gibba by immune electron microscopy using antibodies against the small subunit of the enzyme ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase. Similar studies with Escherichia coli ribosomes, using antibodies directed against the enzyme beta-galactosidase, show that the polypeptide nascent chain emerges in the same relative position in plants and bacteria. The eucaryotic ribosomal exit site is on the large subunit, approximately 75 A from the interface between subunits and nearly 160 A from the central protuberance, the presumed site for peptidyl transfer. This is the first functional site on both the eucaryotic and procaryotic ribosomes to be determined.

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