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J Biochem. 2002 Dec;132(6):983-9.

The ribosome modulation factor (RMF) binding site on the 100S ribosome of Escherichia coli.

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Department of Physics, Osaka Medical College, Takatsuki, Osaka, 569-8686, Japan.


During the stationary growth phase, Escherichia coli 70S ribosomes are converted to 100S ribosomes, and translational activity is lost. This conversion is caused by the binding of the ribosome modulation factor (RMF) to 70S ribosomes. In order to elucidate the mechanisms by which 100S ribosomes form and translational inactivation occurs, the shape of the 100S ribosome and the RMF ribosomal binding site were investigated by electron microscopy and protein-protein cross-linking, respectively. We show that (i) the 100S ribosome is formed by the dimerization of two 70S ribosomes mediated by face-to-face contacts between their constituent 30S subunits, and (ii) RMF binds near the ribosomal proteins S13, L13, and L2. The positions of these proteins indicate that the RMF binding site is near the peptidyl transferase center or the P site (peptidyl-tRNA binding site). These observations are consistent with the translational inactivation of the ribosome by RMF binding. After the "Recycling" stage, ribosomes can readily proceed to the "Initiation" stage during exponential growth, but during stationary phase, the majority of 70S ribosomes are stored as 100S ribosomes and are translationally inactive. We suggest that this conversion of 70S to 100S ribosomes represents a newly identified stage of the ribosomal cycle in stationary phase cells, and we have termed it the "Hibernation" stage.

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