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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 May;40(10):4520-9. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks036. Epub 2012 Jan 24.

P1 and P2 protein heterodimer binding to the P0 protein of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is relatively non-specific and a source of ribosomal heterogeneity.

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


The ribosomal stalk is formed by four acidic phosphoproteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, P1α, P1β, P2α and P2β, which form two heterodimers, P1α/P2β and P1β/P2α, that preferentially bind to sites A and B of the P0 protein, respectively. Using mutant strains carrying only one of the four possible P1/P2 combinations, we found a specific phenotype associated to each P1/P2 pair, indicating that not all acidic P proteins play the same role. The absence of one P1/P2 heterodimer reduced the rate of cell growth by varying degrees, depending on the proteins missing. Synthesis of the 60S ribosomal subunit also decreased, particularly in strains carrying the unusual P1α-P2α or P1β-P2β heterodimers, although the distinct P1/P2 dimers are bound with similar affinity to the mutant ribosome. While in wild-type strains the B site bound P1β/P2α in a highly specific manner and the A site bound the four P proteins similarly, both the A and B binding sites efficiently bound practically any P1/P2 pair in mutant strains expressing truncated P0 proteins. The reported results support that while most ribosomes contain a P1α/P2β-P0-P1β/P2α structure in normal conditions, the stalk assembly mechanism can generate alternative compositions, which have been previously detected in the cell.

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