Translation in mitochondria is responsible for the synthesis of 13 essential transmembrane proteins forming the catalytic core of the respiratory chain. Amunts and colleagues solved a series of cryo-EM structures of the mitochondrial ribosome in multiple functional states, revealing the molecular mechanism of translation.

Cryo-EM structure of the human mitochondrial ribosome. Credit: Shintaro Aibara


Stockholm University has almost 60-year long tradition of pioneering mitochondrial research, including the seminal discoveries that mitochondria have its own DNA and ribosomes.


“In 1959 Renzo Rendi working at the Wenner Gren Institute reported intramitochondrial particles that bring about amino acid incorporation, which is the first genuine evidence of the mitochondrial translation reported in the scientific literature. Remarkably, that original study was funded by the Cancer Society. It's a great privilege and inspiration to have the opportunity to continue this tradition,” says Amunts.


Cancer Society has allocated SEK 614 million to research in 2018, and over SEK 10 billion since its establishment.


“The Swedish Cancer Society is among the most influential councils supporting medical research in Europe, and the fact that it recognizes fundamental science as a high merit is important message for students and postdocs considering academic careers. The award will help my research group to decipher mitochondrial translation, and it also reflects our commitment to continue contributing to the development of cryo-EM in Sweden.”



Swedish Cancer Society


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