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Biochemistry. 1992 Nov 10;31(44):10825-34.

Methylation sites in Escherichia coli ribosomal RNA: localization and identification of four new sites of methylation in 23S rRNA.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104.


Four previously undetermined sites of methylation are mapped in Escherichia coli 23S rRNA employing a novel combination of methods. First, using a double-isotope approach, the total number of methyl groups in 23S rRNA was determined to be 14.9 +/- 1.6. Second, hybridization of methyl-labeled rRNA to complementary DNA restriction fragments and PAGE analysis were used to purify RNA-DNA heteroduplexes and to quantify methyl groups within specific 23S rRNA fragments. Third, the methylated nucleosides in these fragments were identified and quantified using HPLC, confirming the presence of 14 methylation sites in 23S rRNA, four more than had been previously identified. In contrast, a similar set of analyses conducted on 16S rRNA gave evidence for 10 sites of methylation, at all approximate locations consistent with published 16S methylated nucleoside identities and locations. Selected regions of the 23S rRNA molecule containing previously unidentified methylated nucleosides were released by site-directed cleavage with ribonuclease H and isolated by PAGE. Sites of methylation within the RNA fragments were determined by classical oligonucleotide analyses. The four newly identified methylation sites in 23S rRNA are m2G-1835, m5C-1962, m6A-2503, and m2G at one of positions 2445-2447. Together with previously described sites of modification, these new sites form a group that is clustered in a current model for the three-dimensional organization of the 23S rRNA in the 50S ribosomal subunit, at a locus congruent with nucleotides previously implicated in ribosomal function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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