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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Dec 1980; 77(12): 7084–7088.
PMCID: PMC350445

Feedback regulation of ribosomal protein gene expression in Escherichia coli: structural homology of ribosomal RNA and ribosomal protein MRNA.


Certain ribosomal proteins (r proteins) in Escherichia coli, such as S4 and S7, function as feedback repressors in the regulation of r-protein synthesis. These proteins inhibit the translation of their own mRNA. The repressor r proteins so far identified are also known to bind specifically to rRNA at an initial stage in ribosome assembly. We have found structural homology between the S7 binding region on 16S rRNA and a region of the mRNA where S7 acts as a translational repressor. Similarly, there is structural homology between one of the reported S4 binding regions on 16S rRNA and the mRNA target site for S4. The observed homology supports the concept that regulation by repressor r proteins is based on competition between rRNA and mRNA for these proteins and that the same structural features and of the r proteins are used in their interactions with both rRNA and mRNA.

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