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Mol Microbiol. 2003 Oct;50(2):703-12.

Tag-mediated fractionation of yeast ribosome populations proves the monomeric organization of the eukaryotic ribosomal stalk structure.

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Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Canto Blanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


The analysis of the not well understood composition of the stalk, a key ribosomal structure, in eukaryotes having multiple 12 kDa P1/P2 acidic protein components has been approached using these proteins tagged with a histidine tail at the C-terminus. Tagged Saccharomyces cerevisiae ribosomes, which contain two P1 proteins (P1 alpha and P1 beta) and two P2 proteins (P2 alpha and P2 beta), were fractionated by affinity chromatography and their stalk composition was determined. Different yeast strains expressing one or two tagged proteins and containing either a complete or a defective stalk were used. No indication of protein dimers was found in the tested strains. The results are only compatible with a stalk structure containing a single copy of each one of the four 12 kDa proteins per ribosome. Ribosomes having an incomplete stalk are found in wild-type cells. When one of the four proteins is missing, the ribosomes do not carry the three remaining proteins simultaneously, containing only two of them distributed in pairs made of one P1 and one P2. Ribosomes can carry two, one or no acidic protein pairs. The P1 alpha/P2 beta and P1beta/P2 alpha pairs are preferentially found in the ribosome, but they are not essential either for stalk assembly or function.

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