Skip to Main Content

Ribosome Collection

Ribosome Collection Model Demonstration Model

Lending Library Update

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSOE Model Lending Library has suspended operations. Before reopening, we need to identify safe ways of disinfecting library materials between uses. We hope to have decisions made by mid-July about which materials will be available for loan in the fall.


Teaching Points

The synthesis of proteins relies on the activity of ribosomes, which are complexes of ribosomal RNA molecules and proteins organized into a large subunit and a small subunit. Together, these subunits form a functional ribosome, which catalyzes the formation of peptide bonds between amino acids to produce a linear polypeptide chain, using the messenger RNA produced through transcription to determine the order of amino acids. With this collection, students can examine the interaction of the protein component and the ribosomal RNA component of the subunits. Students can also explore the differences between the large subunit (50s) and small subunit (30s) of the ribosome. The small ribosome subunit model displays the interaction of the three transfer RNAs (tRNAs) that are essential for the transportation of the amino acids into the ribosome complex in order for the peptide bond to form. Additionally, students can use the individual models of the tRNAs to further investigate the structure of these molecules.

Models in this Collection

  • Large (50s) ribosome subunit (PDB: 1ffk)
  • Small (30s) ribosome subunit (PDB: 1giy)
    • Three tRNAs attached to small ribosomal subunit are colored green
  • Three transfer RNA molecules
    • tRNA is colored in red and white to visualize the intrastrand base pairing
    • 3' CCA which binds to amino acid is colored yellow
    • Anticodon is colored blue


Requesting this Model

Loan Time Frame: 3 weeks


  • Use the calendar below to select a three week loan. Available times are shown in green. Select a date one week prior to the date you want the model to arrive. After selecting your time period, select checkout and complete the booking details.
  • This loan includes both delivery and return shipping time. Please make sure to plan time (approximately one week) for us to deliver the model to you. You can expect the model to arrive approximately one week following the first day of the requested loan period.


  • Use the calendar below to select a three week loan. Available times are shown in green. Select the date you want to pick up the model. After selecting your time period, select checkout and complete the booking details.

Requesting Other Models

You may schedule one copy of a model for three weeks. Due to limited resources, we are unable to send multiple copies or additional materials.

If you would like to request a loan of a different model for the same time frame you may add this to your cart. Up to three different types of models may be checked out at one time. You will need to fill out a separate request for model loans with a different time frame.


Please contact us at with any questions about the lending process or the availability of models.

Contact Margaret Franzen at or (414) 277-2824 with questions about the models, teaching resources or educational content.



Model Documentation and Instructions

Teaching Points and Inventory

General Model Information

  • The models are made of plaster with the ZCorp 3D printer.
  • The models are shown in spacefill.
  • The colors on the ribosome subunits represent recognized RNA domains, based on standard coloring schemes.
  • The white portions of the ribosome subunits represent ribosomal proteins.
  • Pipe cleaners approximate the path of mRNA and the newly synthesized protein.

Returning Models

Models must be returned on or before the due date.

Borrowers are responsible for return shipping costs. We recommend using FedEx or UPS with "two-day ground" transportation. Please make sure to get a tracking number for the shipment.

Please take care when returning models. Any damage incurred in return shipping due to improper packing will be charged to the borrower.

Ship models to:
Milwaukee School of Engineering
1000 N. Market Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3113
   Available    Your Booking    Unavailable/Padding