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Biochem Int. 1987 Dec;15(6):1179-88.

Ribosomal RNA methylation in Mycobacterium smegmatis SN2.

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Microbiology and Cell Biology Laboratory, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.


Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) from a fast growing nonpathogenic strain of mycobacteria, Mycobacterium smegmatis SN2, was analyzed for the presence of minor nucleotides. Of the sixteen modified nucleotides detected, the identity of twelve has been established and their molar ratios were determined. These nucleotides include m1A, m2A, m6A, m6(2)A, m7G, m5C, rT, CmpC, CmpG, GmpG, UmpG and UmpU. The distinct features of the mycobacterial rRNA modifications include: (i) relatively substantial level of methylation, a feature distinct from that of the tRNA species which are unique in being under methylated in these bacteria, (ii) N1 methyl adenine representing the bulk of the modified bases, (iii) the lack of ribose methylation on any two successive nucleotides, and (iv) the presence of N6,N6-dimethyl adenosines, which are the target sites of the antibiotic kasugamycin, although the bacterial growth is insensitive to the drug.

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