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RNA. 2009 Dec;15(12):2083-104. doi: 10.1261/rna.1792109. Epub 2009 Oct 22.

Powering through ribosome assembly.

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  • 1Chemical Biology Doctoral Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1055, USA.


Ribosome assembly is required for cell growth in all organisms. Classic in vitro work in bacteria has led to a detailed understanding of the biophysical, thermodynamic, and structural basis for the ordered and correct assembly of ribosomal proteins on ribosomal RNA. Furthermore, it has enabled reconstitution of active subunits from ribosomal RNA and proteins in vitro. Nevertheless, recent work has shown that eukaryotic ribosome assembly requires a large macromolecular machinery in vivo. Many of these assembly factors such as ATPases, GTPases, and kinases hydrolyze nucleotide triphosphates. Because these enzymes are likely regulatory proteins, much work to date has focused on understanding their role in the assembly process. Here, we review these factors, as well as other sources of energy, and their roles in the ribosome assembly process. In addition, we propose roles of energy-releasing enzymes in the assembly process, to explain why energy is used for a process that occurs largely spontaneously in bacteria. Finally, we use literature data to suggest testable models for how these enzymes could be used as targets for regulation of ribosome assembly.

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