The ribosome is a complex molecular machine, found within all living cells, that serves as the site of biological protein synthesis (translation). Ribosomes link amino acids together in the order specified by messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules. Ribosomes consist of two major components: the small ribosomal subunit, which reads the RNA, and the large subunit, which joins amino acids to form a polypeptide chain. Each subunit is composed of one or more ribosomal RNA (rRNA) molecules and a variety of ribosomal proteins. The ribosomes and associated molecules are also known as the translational apparatus. The ribosome is made up of two parts, called subunits. The larger of the two subunits is where the amino acids get added to the growing protein chain. The small subunit is where the mRNA binds and is decoded. Each of the subunits is made up of both protein and ribonucleic acid (RNA) components.
The sequence of DNA, which encodes the sequence of the amino acids in a protein, is copied into a messenger RNA chain. It may be copied many times into RNA chains. Ribosomes can bind to a messenger RNA chain and use its sequence for determining the correct sequence of amino acids. Amino acids are selected, collected, and carried to the ribosome by transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules, which enter one part of the ribosome and bind to the messenger RNA chain. It is during this binding that the correct translation of nucleic acid sequence to amino acid sequence occurs. For each coding triplet in the messenger RNA there is a distinct transfer RNA that matches and which carries the correct amino acid for that coding triplet. The attached amino acids are then linked together by another part of the ribosome. Once the protein is produced, it can then fold to produce a specific functional three-dimensional structure although during synthesis some proteins start folding into their correct form.
A ribosome is made from complexes of RNAs and proteins and is therefore a ribonucleoprotein. Each ribosome is divided into two subunits: 1; a smaller subunit which binds to a larger subunit and the mRNA pattern, and 2; a larger subunit which binds to the tRNA, the amino acids, and the smaller subunit. When a ribosome finishes reading an mRNA molecule, these two subunits split apart. Ribosomes are ribozymes, because the catalytic peptidyltransferase activity that links amino acids together is performed by the ribosomal RNA. Ribosomes are often associated with the intracellular membranes that make up the rough endoplasmic reticulum. Ribosomes from bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes in the three-domain system, resemble each other to a remarkable degree, evidence of a common origin. Ribosomes are a cell structure that makes protein. Protein is needed for many cell functions such as repairing damage or directing chemical processes. Ribosomes can be found floating within the cytoplasm or attached to the endoplasmic reticulum.