Jump to a Molecule:
Structural View of Biology >> Protein Synthesis

Structural View of Biology

The major molecules of protein synthesis, from DNA to RNA to ribosomes to folded proteins, are available in the PDB archive. Proteins are built in several steps in all living organisms. The blueprint for each protein is stored in the genome, encoded in strands of DNA. This information is transcribed into an RNA copy, which is then used to construct the protein chain. After the chain is synthesized, it may be modified with special chemical groups, chaperoned into its proper folded shape, and ultimately destroyed when it is not needed any longer. Click on any of the sub-categories below to explore further.

Structure of Nucleic Acids

Nucleic acids carry genetic information in the sequence of nucleotides.

DNA Maintenance

The DNA genome must last the life of a cell, and must be passed on to future generations with no mistakes.


A complete copy of the DNA genome is constructed every time a cell divides.


The genetic information in DNA is used to build RNA strands.


Proteins are built by ribosomes, based on the genetic information carried by RNA strands.

Protein Folding - Modification - Degradation

Cells carefully manage their proteins from synthesis to disposal.

Please see our usage polices for citation and reprint information. Copies of the illustrations used in these features are available for download as high resolution TIFF images. Please note that the structures used to illustrate each installment are chosen at the discretion of the authors; the features are not intended to represent a historical record. The process behind the creation of this feature is described by the author.