Molecule of the Month
November 2018
Is Small the New Large?

Ribosomes are among the most important molecular machines in a cell. They consist of RNA and protein building blocks that hardly changed during evolution. Mitochondria are the "power plants of the cell". These organelles are present in each eukaryotic cell and contain their own "mitoribosomes".
The trypanosomal mitoribosomes have the same function as other ribosomes, however, their structure deviates substantially: they feature the smallest RNA building blocks and contain more proteins than all known ribosomes.

This work was carried out in collaboration between the Ban lab (ETHZ) and the Schneider lab (UniBe) in the context of the SNF NCCR "RNA and Disease".


  • D. J. F. Ramrath, M. Niemann, M. Leibundgut, P. Bieri, C. Prange, E. K. Horn, A. Leitner, D. Boehringer, A. Schneider, N. Ban;
    "Evolutionary shift toward protein-based architecture in trypanosomal mitochondrial ribosomes"
    Science, 2018, 362(6413), eaau7735/1-9; doi:10.1126/science.aau7735.