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Nucleic Acids Res. May 1, 1997; 25(9): 1788–1794.
PMCID: PMC146658

Role of the 5.8S rRNA in ribosome translocation.


Studies on the inhibition of protein synthesis by specific anti 5.8S rRNA oligonucleotides have suggested that this RNA plays an important role in eukaryotic ribosome function. Mutations in the 5. 8S rRNA can inhibit cell growth and compromise protein synthesis in vitro . Polyribosomes from cells expressing these mutant 5.8S rRNAs are elevated in size and ribosome-associated tRNA. Cell free extracts from these cells also are more sensitive to antibiotics which act on the 60S ribosomal subunit by inhibiting elongation. The extracts are especially sensitive to cycloheximide and diphtheria toxin which act specifically to inhibit translocation. Studies of ribosomal proteins show no reproducible changes in the core proteins, but reveal reduced levels of elongation factors 1 and 2 only in ribosomes which contain large amounts of mutant 5.8S rRNA. Polyribosomes from cells which are severely inhibited, but contain little mutant 5.8S rRNA, do not show the same reductions in the elongation factors, an observation which underlines the specific nature of the change. Taken together the results demonstrate a defined and critical function for the 5.8S rRNA, suggesting that this RNA plays a role in ribosome translocation.

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