Ribosome Function: Definition, Structure, Shape, How It Works, Up to Its Characteristics

The function of ribosomes – Every living body in this world must be composed of various kinds and types of cells and their own tissues. These cells and tissues then have their respective roles to maintain the stability of living bodies, including plants and humans.

Meanwhile, one of the organelles that have an important role in the body of living things is the ribosome cell or tissue. The function of the ribosome itself is an organelle that has a very small size and is dense in a cell which also acts as a place for carrying out protein synthesis or the process of forming protein particles which in the process involves RNA synthesis which is also influenced by DNA.

In the mid-1950s, a scientist named George Emil Palade from Romania conducted the first ribosome research using an electron microscope. Meanwhile, the use of the word ‘ribosome’ itself was first used by a scientist named Richard B. Robert in 1985.

All living things and cells, like animal cells, plant cells, prokaryotic cells, and eukaryotic cells have ribosomes. The function of the ribosome which is very important in the continuation of living things makes us have to learn more about it. The reason is, ribosomes also have a function as one of the cell components that play a role in making proteins from all the amino acids that exist.

The location of this ribosome is in the cytoplasm and attaches or attaches to the ER membrane when the protein synthesis process is taking place. Meanwhile, if the protein synthesis process is not taking place, the ribosome will form in two cell sub units, namely the large sub unit and the large ribosome sub unit.

In terms of appearance or shape, this ribosome has a very small size with a diameter of about 20 to 22 nanometers and also consists of about 65 percent ribosomal RNA and about 35 percent ribosomal protein. Cells or tissues with a high rate of protein synthesis will have lots of ribosomes around them.

This can be seen in human liver cells which have several million ribosomes. Because, as previously said, these ribosomes are composed of various types of proteins and various types of RNA molecules.

So, what exactly is the function of the ribosome? Curious? Come on, look at the following information regarding the function of the ribosome, its meaning, structure, shape, function, how it works, and its characteristics. Check this out !

Definition of Ribosomes

Literally, the word ribosome comes from the Greek, namely from the word ‘ soma ‘ and the word ‘ ribonucleic acid ‘. The word Soma itself means ‘body’, while ribonucleic acid means ribonucleic acid.

According to Rahmadina and Husnarika Febriani’s book entitled Cell Biology: The Smallest Unit that Makes Up a Living Body, which was published in 2017, it was explained that ribosomes are organelles that are small, dense, and also do not have membranes that are normally present in all living cells. .

The main molecule that makes up ribosomes is ribosomal RNA. Ribosomal RNA is also commonly known by the abbreviation rRNA.

In addition to ribosomal RNA or rRNA, ribosomal constituent molecules also consist of protein. So, it’s no wonder that ribosomes are one of the body’s smallest organelles which are also found in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells in very large numbers, up to thousands of ribosomes.

In eukaryotic cells, ribosomal organelles can be located in many places, including places such as the endoplasmic reticulum and cytosol. The endoplasmic reticulum itself is one of the organelles or cell organs found in all eukaryotic cells and is a part of a system called the endomembrane.

While the cytosol is a component of cells in the cytoplasm in the form of fluid where metabolism occurs.

Meanwhile, in prokaryotic cells, ribosomal cell organs can only be found in places such as cytosol cells. This happens because in this type of cell there are no cell organs that have membranes like in the endoplasmic reticulum.

Structure of the Ribosome

As previously mentioned, the structure that forms the ribosome is composed of two very important parts, namely ribonucleic acid or RNA and protein. Each ribosome contains two subunits of RNA and protein. The subunits are the large subunit and the small subunit.

The position of the RNA and protein subunits in the ribosome overlaps with all the large subunits that are on the top of the small subunit. Then, in the middle of the two subunits, there is more RNA. Because of this, new ribosomes are formed which make the cell organ look not much different from a stacked hamburger.

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According to the Center for Science , the two subunits in the ribosome will come together when the ribosome feels ready to make a new protein. Both of them will come together and form strands consisting of RNA and various proteins.

What needs to be known next is that each sub-unit has its own duties and functions. As in the small subunit, this subunit has the function of the ribosome as a reader of messages previously conveyed by mRNA in amino acids. Meanwhile, the large subunit has the task of forming peptide bonds on the ribosome.

In addition to the large subunit of the ribosome, there is a place where new bonds will be made. This new bond is made to produce a new protein again. Meanwhile, the small subunit will convey or flow information during this protein synthesis process.

Based on the composition of the bodies of eukaryotic cells and prokaryotic cells, each ribosome arrangement or structure has its own coefficient value. In eukaryotes, the small subunit has a sedimentation coefficient of 40S Svedberg units, while the large subunit has a value of 60S. However, if put together as a unit, the value of the sedimentation coefficient of eukaryotic bodies is 80S.

Meanwhile, in prokaryotes, the small subunit has a sedimentation coefficient of 30S, and the large subunit has a sedimentation coefficient of 50S. However, if the two sedimentation coefficient values ​​are combined, the value of both will reach 70S.

As is well known, the constituent ribosomes are RNA and protein. The thing to note is that the RNA that makes up the ribosome must consist of ribosomal ARN or ARNr. And when the process of protein synthesis takes place in the ribosome, there will be other ARN involved. They are Transfer ARN (ARNt) and Ambassador ARN (ARNd) which are located attached to the ribosome.

The two ARNs involved have their respective roles as well. This ARN Transfer functions to provide various types of amino acids which will later be processed into proteins. Meanwhile, ARN Duta serves as a transmitter of genetic information about the protein that must be synthesized.

Ribosome Shape and Size

After discussing the meaning and structure of ribosomes, we also need to know the shape and size of the organ cells in our body. The shape and size of the ribosome actually depends on the location or place where it is located.

As previously explained, ribosomes are present in two cells, namely eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. So, the function of the ribosome in the two places also has a different shape and size. For more detailed information, see the explanation below.

1. Eukaryotes

Eukaryotic ribosomes are ribosomes found in eukaryotic cells. These ribosomes are located independently in the cytoplasm and are usually attached to the endoplasmic reticulum. Meanwhile, the size of the eukaryotic ribosome itself has a length of about 32 x 22 nanometers with a mass of 4,220,000 Daltons.

In eukaryotic ribosomes, the combined value of the sedimentation coefficient is 80S. This makes eukaryotic ribosomes composed of 40 percent RNA and about 60 percent protein content.

2. Prokaryotes

Slightly different from eukaryotic ribosomes, prokaryote ribosomes are cell organs that are basically located on the inside of the cytoplasm. These ribosomes have subunit sizes with sedimentation coefficients of 50S and 30S. This organ cell has a length of about 29 x 21 nanometers with a mass weight of 2,520.00 Daltons.

Ribosome Function

Ribosomes can be found in plant and animal cells. And each of these cells also certainly has roles and functions that are very important for life.

As mentioned in the explanation above, the function of the ribosome is as one of the cell organs that helps the process of making protein in the cell or commonly known as protein synthesis.

Consists of two different subunits, making the function of the ribosome more inclined to the translation process than to the cell transcription process.

Cells in the body need to carry out the process of producing protein with the aim of being able to speed up the normal and important biological processes that the body goes through. In addition, the protein produced by the ribosome also plays a very important role in helping the body’s biological processes to function properly.

This is because protein itself is a very important part of various organs in the body, such as skin, hair and nails. So, if there is no protein in the body as a result of ribosome function, there will definitely be many other body functions that are disrupted.

Therefore, it is not surprising that ribosomes have a very important role in every activity or metabolic activity. Because, ribosomes also have a role as a collector of amino acids to be prepared into certain proteins. The process of forming proteins is an important aspect carried out by organ cells.

Ribosomes can make proteins that will later be used in cells or proteins to be released by cells. Proteins that are in this cell are basically made by ribosomes that are in the cell cytosol.

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Meanwhile, proteins that are outside the cell are usually produced by ribosomes from the endoplasmic reticulum or nuclear envelope.

Apart from the explanation above, there are actually three functions of the ribosome that are most important and need to be known. The function of the ribosome is as follows:

1. The function of ribosomes as a process of protein synthesis

Ribosomes are organelles or cell organs that do not have membranes in their bodies. However, ribosomes still have a very important function in every process of protein synthesis or formation.

The most important function of the ribosome itself in the process of protein synthesis is to effectively translate the code from mRNA which will later turn into protein. In fact, not only that, ribosomes can also carry out the process of synthesizing proteins and enzymes freely so that they can also function as catalysts for fluids in the cytosol.

2. The function of the ribosome as translation

When the process of forming a protein occurs, in general, the ribosome will carry out a task called translation. The function of this translation task is to translate or distribute information regarding the nucleotide sequence contained in the mRNA-forming molecule. After that, the ribosome will turn it into a new sequence of amino acids as a constituent of a new protein as well.

In this translation process, mRNA will usually be a copy of the sequence of DNA which will later be used as a component of the gene in the form of an open reading frame. In addition, mRNA also in this process has information regarding the sequence of amino acids needed during protein formation.

3. Function of ribosome as transcription

The next function of the ribosome is as transcription in the process of protein synthesis. In the process of forming this protein, one of the several DNA sequences that is formed will undergo a process called transcription which will produce RNA as the end result later.

For the record, this transcription process is still part of the genetic expression process. So, this transcription process can also be referred to as a process of copying text from DNA which will then be converted into RNA. And right when this process takes place, the component that will undergo changes in DNA is the nitrogenous base thymine. After that, change the DNA into RNA.

How Ribosomes Work in the Body

So that all the proteins needed by each cell can be fulfilled and produced, then of course there is only one way that can be done. It is protein synthesis with the help of ribosome function. The process of making this protein certainly involves DNA and RNA, besides that the process also starts from within the cell nucleus or nucleus.

The process of protein synthesis begins when an enzyme in the nucleus opens a specific part of its DNA. This is done so that the DNA can be accessed by the RNA copy and continue the process of protein synthesis.

After RNA successfully copied DNA information, RNA molecules moved from the cell nucleus to the cell cytoplasm. It is in the cytoplasm that the process of protein formation will occur. The end result of this process is protein which is used for various bodily functions.

Features of the Ribosome

Based on the explanation above, of course we already know the function of the ribosome itself. In addition, ribosomes also have several characteristics that can be used as their characteristics. The characteristics of the ribosome, among others:

  1. > Consists of predominant sequences of RNA and protein
  2. >In ribosomes, ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is 65% and protein is 35%
  3. >The shape resembles small grains with a diameter of about 20-22 nanometers.
  4. >It is the smallest cell organ in the cell.
  5. > The function of the ribosome is to produce protein.
  6. >Some are categorized as bound ribosomes and free ribosomes.
  7. > Found in every cell of living things, from plants, animals, to prokaryotes and eukaryotic.


Ribosomes are very small and compact cell organelles that are in a cell. The function of the ribosome itself is as a place to carry out protein synthesis or protein formation.

The size of these ribosomes is generally only 20-22 nanometers. With a shape like a small grain, ribosomes have a very important role in maintaining the stability of living things. This is because ribosomes are present in all living cells, from plants, animals, to prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

That is a summary description of the function of the ribosome, its definition, structure, shape, function, way of working, and its characteristics. Hopefully what has been explained can be understood and useful for #FriendsWithoutLimits, OK?

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