A three-dimensional reconstruction of the eukaryotic 80S monosome from a frozen-hydrated electron microscopic preparation reveals the native structure of this macromolecular complex. The new structure, at 38A resolution, shows a marked resemblance to the structure determined for the E. coli 70S ribosome (Frank, J., A. Verschoor, Y. Li, J. Zhu, R.K. Lata, M. Radermacher, P. Penczek, R. Grassucci, R.K. Agrawal, and Srivastava. 1996b. In press; Frank, J., J. Zhu, P. Penczek, Y. Li, S. Srivastava ., A. Verschoor, M. Radermacher, R. Grassucci, R.K. Lata, and R. Agrawal. 1995. Nature (Lond.).376:441-444.) limited to a comparable resolution, but with a number of eukaryotic elaborations superimposed. Although considerably greater size and intricacy of the features is seen in the morphology of the large subunit (60S vs 50S), the most striking differences are in the small subunit morphology (40S vs 30S): the extended beak and crest features of the head, the back lobes, and the feet. However, the structure underlying these extra features appears to be remarkably similar in form to the 30S portion of the 70S structure. The intersubunit space also appears to be strongly conserved, as might be expected from the degree of functional conservation of the ribosome among kingdoms (Eukarya, Eubacteria, and Archaea). The internal organization of the 80S structure appears as an armature or core of high-density material for each subunit, with the two cores linked by a single bridge between the platform region of the 40S subunit and the region below the presumed peptidyltransferase center of the 60S subunit. This may be equated with a close contact of the 18S and 28S rRNAs in the translational domain centered on the upper subunit:subunit interface.

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