During the last ten years, developments in cryo–electron microscopy have transformed our understanding of eukaryotic ribosome assembly. As a result, the field has advanced from a list of the vast array of ribosome assembly factors toward an emerging molecular movie in which individual frames are represented by structures of stable ribosome assembly intermediates with complementary biochemical and genetic data. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms driving the assembly of yeast and human small and large ribosomal subunits. A particular emphasis is placed on the most recent findings that illustrate key concepts of ribosome assembly, such as folding of preribosomal RNA, the enforced chronology of assembly, enzyme-mediated irreversible transitions, and proofreading of preribosomal particles.


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