Schematic diagram of bacterial protein synthesis. Shown are the mains steps comprising the translation process: initiation, elongation cycle, termination and recycling. Details regarding each step are provided in the main text. For simplicity, some intermediate stages are omitted in this overview. The mRNA is depicted as a strand running horizontally along the small (30S) subunit, with alternating white and black segments, each representing one codon. The tRNAs bind at A, P and E sites. The nascent polypeptide is shown as a string of spheres. The individual structures and cartoons are not drawn to scale.