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Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Feb;37(2):602-10. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkn922. Epub 2008 Dec 10.

The C-terminal fragment of the ribosomal P protein complexed to trichosanthin reveals the interaction between the ribosome-inactivating protein and the ribosome.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Centre for Protein Science and Crystallography and Molecular Biotechnology Programme, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong, China.


Ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs) inhibit protein synthesis by enzymatically depurinating a specific adenine residue at the sarcin-ricin loop of the 28S rRNA, which thereby prevents the binding of elongation factors to the GTPase activation centre of the ribosome. Here, we present the 2.2 A crystal structure of trichosanthin (TCS) complexed to the peptide SDDDMGFGLFD, which corresponds to the conserved C-terminal elongation factor binding domain of the ribosomal P protein. The N-terminal region of this peptide interacts with Lys173, Arg174 and Lys177 in TCS, while the C-terminal region is inserted into a hydrophobic pocket. The interaction with the P protein contributes to the ribosome-inactivating activity of TCS. This 11-mer C-terminal P peptide can be docked with selected important plant and bacterial RIPs, indicating that a similar interaction may also occur with other RIPs.

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