The ribosome is an internal component of a cell. They are tiny structures that are either bound to the cell membrane or move freely around the intracellular fluid inside the cell. They are made up of about 40% protein and 60 % nucleic acid and are arranged in two subunits (large and small). Albert Claude and Christian de Duve, George Emil Palade were awarded the Nobel Prize, in 1974, for their discovery of the ribosome. Since the early 2000s the ribosome has been studied at atomic resolution. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the scientists studying the ribosome we are now able to understand its function.
What is the function of a ribosome?
In basic terms the function of the ribosome is to assemble amino acids to synthesize (produce) proteins. Their role in the cell is so important that it is not uncommon for hundreds or even thousands of ribosome ribosomes to be found in one cell. Generally speaking, the more ribosomes that are found in a cell, the more proteins it can produce.
When a cell needs to make a protein the cell nucleus copies a DNA sequence and creates mRNA (messenger RNA). This mRNA has the instructions for the ribosome. The ribosome can read these instructions and use it to create proteins. In biology, this process is known as translation. For this to happen amino acids attach to tRNA (transfer RNA), which the ribosome joins together to create a chain of amino acids (protein).