Send to

Choose Destination
J Biol Chem. 1987 Apr 25;262(12):5908-12.

The mechanism of action of ricin and related toxic lectins on eukaryotic ribosomes. The site and the characteristics of the modification in 28 S ribosomal RNA caused by the toxins.


Ricin is a potent cytotoxic protein derived from the higher plant Ricinus communis that inactivates eukaryotic ribosomes. In this paper we have studied the mechanism of action of ricin A-chain on rat liver ribosomes in vitro. Our findings indicate that the toxin inactivates the ribosomes by modifying both or either of two nucleoside residues, G4323 and A4324, in 28 S rRNA. These nucleotides are located close to the alpha-sarcin cleavage site and become resistant to all ribonucleases tested. The examination of the lability of phosphodiester bonds of these nucleotides to both mild alkaline digestion and aniline treatment at acidic pH suggests that the base of A4324 is removed by the toxin. This unique activity of ricin A-chain was also observed when naked 28 S rRNA is used as a substrate, indicating that the toxin directly acts on the RNA. Similar activity on 28 S rRNA is also exhibited by abrin and modeccin, ricin-related toxins, suggesting a general mechanistic pathway for ribosome inactivation by lectin toxins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center