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Cell. 1987 Jun 19;49(6):825-33.

Mutations in the gene for EF-G reduce the requirement for 4.5S RNA in the growth of E. coli.


A general strategy is described for the isolation of suppressors of essential genes whose functions are unknown. This strategy was used to analyze the role of 4.5S RNA, an essential RNA of E. coli. In this strategy, the structural gene for 4.5S RNA is fused to the Ptac promoter in such a way that the strain becomes dependent upon inducers of lac for growth. Mutants mapping to fus, the structural gene for protein synthesis elongation factor G, appear as spontaneous, inducer-independent revertants. These mutants alter the intracellular distribution of 4.5S RNA such that it sediments at 70S or greater. Furthermore, the increased sedimentation velocity is sensitive to the antibiotic puromycin. These results show that 4.5S RNA physically associates with the ribosome in performing its essential function, and that this association is mediated by elongation factor G.

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