US scientists have engineered an artificial ribosome, the protein synthesizers of the cell, or what the scientists call 'protein-making factory' that may enable the production of new drugs and next-generation biomaterial. The study said, "The artificial ribosome, called Ribo-T, works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component that produces all the proteins and enzymes within the cell."
The Ribo-T made proteins in a test-tube. It was also able to make enough protein in bacterial cells that lacked natural ribosomes to keep the bacteria alive. Research Michael Jewett, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University in the US, said, "Our new protein-making factory holds promise to expand the genetic code in a unique and transformative way, providing exciting opportunities for synthetic biology and biomolecular engineering."
The researchers believe that Ribo-T would lead to a better understanding of how ribosomes function. Alexander Mankin from University of Illinois at Chicago said, "This is an exciting tool to explore ribosomal functions by experimenting with the most critical parts of the protein synthesis machine, which previously were 'untouchable'."
The scientists claimed that no one has ever developed something of this nature and that the human-made ribosome may be able to be manipulated in the laboratory to do things natural ribosomes cannot do.
The findings are published in the Nature.