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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32702. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032702. Epub 2012 Mar 7.

Direct interaction of the N-terminal domain of ribosomal protein S1 with protein S2 in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Department of Microbiology, Immunobiology and Genetics, Center for Molecular Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


Despite of the high resolution structure available for the E. coli ribosome, hitherto the structure and localization of the essential ribosomal protein S1 on the 30 S subunit still remains to be elucidated. It was previously reported that protein S1 binds to the ribosome via protein-protein interaction at the two N-terminal domains. Moreover, protein S2 was shown to be required for binding of protein S1 to the ribosome. Here, we present evidence that the N-terminal domain of S1 (amino acids 1-106; S1(106)) is necessary and sufficient for the interaction with protein S2 as well as for ribosome binding. We show that over production of protein S1(106) affects E. coli growth by displacing native protein S1 from its binding pocket on the ribosome. In addition, our data reveal that the coiled-coil domain of protein S2 (S2α(2)) is sufficient to allow protein S1 to bind to the ribosome. Taken together, these data uncover the crucial elements required for the S1/S2 interaction, which is pivotal for translation initiation on canonical mRNAs in gram-negative bacteria. The results are discussed in terms of a model wherein the S1/S2 interaction surface could represent a possible target to modulate the selectivity of the translational machinery and thereby alter the translational program under distinct conditions.

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