The role of fluctuations in tRNA selection by the ribosome.
Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
The detailed mechanism of how the ribosome decodes protein sequence information with an abnormally high accuracy, after 40 years of study, remains elusive. A critical element in selecting correct transfer RNA (tRNA) transferring correct amino acid is "induced fit" between the ribosome and tRNA. By using single-molecule methods, the induced fit mechanism is shown to position favorably the correct tRNA after initial codon recognition. We provide evidence that this difference in positioning and thermal fluctuations constitutes the primary mechanism for the initial selection of tRNA. This work demonstrates thermal fluctuations playing a critical role in the substrate selection by an enzyme.