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Highlights of Coronavirus Structural Studies

Coronavirus Archive

Research Highlights

the best of science obtained using CIISB Core Facilities

EMBO Journal 2021

The essential fungal‐specific translation elongation factor 3 (eEF3) has been implicated in tRNA binding and release. Combined in vitro and in vivo analyses show that its critical is in release of E‐site‐tRNA from the ribosome during late steps of translocation.

Daniel N. Wilson Research Group


In addition to the conserved translation elongation factors eEF1A and eEF2, fungi require a third essential elongation factor, eEF3. While eEF3 has been implicated in tRNA binding and release at the ribosomal A and E sites, its exact mechanism of action is unclear. Here, we show that eEF3 acts at the mRNA–tRNA translocation step by promoting the dissociation of the tRNA from the E site, but independent of aminoacyl‐tRNA recruitment to the A site. Depletion of eEF3 in vivo leads to a general slowdown in translation elongation due to accumulation of ribosomes with an occupied A site. Cryo‐EM analysis of native eEF3‐ribosome complexes shows that eEF3 facilitates late steps of translocation by favoring non‐rotated ribosomal states, as well as by opening the L1 stalk to release the E‐site tRNA. Additionally, our analysis provides structural insights into novel translation elongation states, enabling presentation of a revised yeast translation elongation cycle.

Ranjan, N; Pochopien, A ; hih-Chien Wu, C; Beckert, B; Blanchet, S; Green, R; Rodnina, M; Wilson, DN: Yeast translation elongation factor eEF3 promotes late stages of tRNA translocation during RF3-mediated recycling of RF1 EMBO J (2021) 40: e106449;


Angew. Chem. Int. Edit. 2021

Nature Index Journal

A) Hemi‐protonated C⋅C+ base pair. B) Example of a sequence prone to form intramolecular i‐DNA. C) Possible loop arrangements in an i‐DNA structure; Simplified diagram of two linking directions between strands: Central loop can across either major (left, conformation I) or minor (right, conformation II) groove.

Jun-Jie Zhu Research Group


Recent studies indicate that i‐DNA, a four‐stranded cytosine‐rich DNA also known as the i‐motif, is actually formed in vivo; however, a systematic study on sequence effects on stability has been missing. Herein, an unprecedented number of different sequences (271) bearing four runs of 3–6 cytosines with different spacer lengths has been tested. While i‐DNA stability is nearly independent on total spacer length, the central spacer plays a special role on stability. Stability also depends on the length of the C‐tracts at both acidic and neutral pHs. This study provides a global picture on i‐DNA stability thanks to the large size of the introduced data set; it reveals unexpected features and allows to conclude that determinants of i‐DNA stability do not mirror those of G‐quadruplexes. Our results illustrate the structural roles of loops and C‐tracts on i‐DNA stability, confirm its formation in cells, and allow establishing rules to predict its stability.

Cheng, MP; Qiu, DH; Tamon, L; Istvankova, E; Viskova, P; Amrane, S; Guedin, A; Chen, JL; Lacroix, L; Ju, HX; Trantirek, L; Sahakyan, AB; Zhou, J; and Mergny, JL: Thermal and pH Stabilities of i-DNA: Confronting in vitro Experiments with Models and In-Cell NMR Data Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. on line


More publications Research Highlights archive

Reader’s Corner

literature to read, science to follow

In this section, a distinct selection of six highly stimulating research publications and reviews published during past 6 months is presented. It is our hope that links to exciting science, which deserves attention of the structural biology community, will help you to locate gems in the steadily expanding jungle of scientific literature. You are welcome to point out to any paper you found interesting by sending a link or citation to The section is being updated regularly.


Reader’s Corner Archive

Quote of April

“Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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