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Biochemistry. 1987 Apr 21;26(8):2353-64.

In vitro synthesis of 16S ribosomal RNA containing single base changes and assembly into a functional 30S ribosome.


Functional 30S ribosomes were reconstructed from total Escherichia coli 30S ribosomal proteins and 16S ribosomal RNA synthesized in vitro by T7 RNA polymerase. Up to 700 mol of RNA/mol of template could be obtained. The transcript lacked all ten normally modified bases and had three additional 5' G residues, an A----G change at position 2, and, in 22% of the molecules, one or two extra 3' residues. The synthetic 16S RNA could be assembled into a particle that cosedimented with authentic 30S and was indistinguishable from 30S by electron microscopy. When supplemented with the 50S subunit, the particles bound tRNA to the 70S P site in a codon- and Mg2+-dependent manner. The specific binding activity was 94% that of particles reconstituted with natural rRNA and 52% that of native 30S. Cross-linking to P site bound tRNA was also preserved. Changing C-1400, the residue known to be close to the anticodon of P site bound tRNA, to A had little effect on reconstitution, but the C----G substitution caused a marked inhibition of assembly. tRNA could bind to both reconstituted mutants, but cross-linking was greatly reduced. These results show that none of the modified bases of 16S RNA are essential for P site binding and that position 1400 may be more important for ribosome assembly than for tRNA binding. Base-specific in vitro mutagenesis can now be used to explore in detail the functional properties of individual residues in ribosomal RNA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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