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J Biol Chem. 2011 May 27;286(21):18405-13. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.200410. Epub 2011 Apr 1.

The ribosomal l1 protuberance in yeast is methylated on a lysine residue catalyzed by a seven-beta-strand methyltransferase.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095-1569, USA.


Modification of proteins of the translational apparatus is common in many organisms. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we provide evidence for the methylation of Rpl1ab, a well conserved protein forming the ribosomal L1 protuberance of the large subunit that functions in the release of tRNA from the exit site. We show that the intact mass of Rpl1ab is 14 Da larger than its calculated mass with the previously described loss of the initiator methionine residue and N-terminal acetylation. We determined that the increase in mass of yeast Rpl1ab is consistent with the addition of a methyl group to lysine 46 using top-down mass spectrometry. Lysine modification was confirmed by detecting (3)H-N-ε-monomethyllysine in hydrolysates of Rpl1ab purified from yeast cells radiolabeled in vivo with S-adenosyl-l-[methyl-(3)H]methionine. Mass spectrometric analysis of intact Rpl1ab purified from 37 deletion strains of known and putative yeast methyltransferases revealed that only the deletion of the YLR137W gene, encoding a seven-β-strand methyltransferase, results in the loss of the +14-Da modification. We expressed the YLR137W gene as a His-tagged protein in Escherichia coli and showed that it catalyzes N-ε-monomethyllysine formation within Rpl1ab on ribosomes from the ΔYLR137W mutant strain lacking the methyltransferase activity but not from wild-type ribosomes. We also showed that the His-tagged protein could catalyze monomethyllysine formation on a 16-residue peptide corresponding to residues 38-53 of Rpl1ab. We propose that the YLR137W gene be given the standard name RKM5 (ribosomal lysine (K) methyltransferase 5). Orthologs of RKM5 are found only in fungal species, suggesting a role unique to their survival.

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