Protein synthesis in all cells is carried out by macromolecular machines called ribosomes. Although the structures of prokaryotic, yeast and protist ribosomes have been determined, the more complex molecular architecture of metazoan 80S ribosomes has so far remained elusive. Here we present structures of Drosophila melanogaster and Homo sapiens 80S ribosomes in complex with the translation factor eEF2, E-site transfer RNA and Stm1-like proteins, based on high-resolution cryo-electron-microscopy density maps. These structures not only illustrate the co-evolution of metazoan-specific ribosomal RNA with ribosomal proteins but also reveal the presence of two additional structural layers in metazoan ribosomes, a well-ordered inner layer covered by a flexible RNA outer layer. The human and Drosophila ribosome structures will provide the basis for more detailed structural, biochemical and genetic experiments.
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