National Center for
4KIX: Control Of Ribosomal Subunit Rotation By Elongation Factor G
Science (2013) 340 p.1235970
Protein synthesis by the ribosome requires the translocation of transfer RNAs and messenger RNA by one codon after each peptide bond is formed, a reaction that requires ribosomal subunit rotation and is catalyzed by the guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) elongation factor G (EF-G). We determined 3 angstrom resolution x-ray crystal structures of EF-G complexed with a nonhydrolyzable guanosine 5'-triphosphate (GTP) analog and bound to the Escherichia coli ribosome in different states of ribosomal subunit rotation. The structures reveal that EF-G binding to the ribosome stabilizes switch regions in the GTPase active site, resulting in a compact EF-G conformation that favors an intermediate state of ribosomal subunit rotation. These structures suggest that EF-G controls the translocation reaction by cycles of conformational rigidity and relaxation before and after GTP hydrolysis.