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J Mol Biol. 1990 Sep 5;215(1):73-83.

Sixteen discrete RNA components in the cytoplasmic ribosome of Euglena gracilis.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


We have isolated cytoplasmic ribosomes from Euglena gracilis and characterized the RNA components of these particles. We show here that instead of the four rRNAs (17-19 S, 25-28 S, 5.8 S and 5 S) found in typical eukaryotic ribosomes, Euglena cytoplasmic ribosomes contain 16 RNA components. Three of these Euglena rRNAs are the structural equivalents of the 17-19 S, 5.8 S and 5 S rRNAs of other eukaryotes. However, the equivalent of 25-28 S rRNA is found in Euglena as 13 separate RNA species. We demonstrate that together with 5 S and 5.8 S rRNA, these 13 RNAs are all components of the large ribosomal subunit, while a 19 S RNA is the sole RNA component of the small ribosomal subunit. Two of the 13 pieces of 25-28 S rRNA are not tightly bound to the large ribosomal subunit and are released at low (0 to 0.1 mM) magnesium ion concentrations. We present here the complete primary sequences of each of the 14 RNA components (including 5.8 S rRNA) of Euglena large subunit rRNA. Sequence comparisons and secondary structure modeling indicate that these 14 RNAs exist as a non-covalent network that together must perform the functions attributed to the covalently continuous, high molecular weight, large subunit rRNA from other systems.

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