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RNA. 1996 Mar;2(3):254-63.

A translational fidelity mutation in the universally conserved sarcin/ricin domain of 25S yeast ribosomal RNA.

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  • 1Laboratory for Molecular Biology (M/C 567), University of Illinois at Chicago 60607-7174, USA.


Recent evidence suggests that ribosomal RNAs have functional roles in translation. We describe here a new ribosomal RNA mutation that causes translational suppression and antibiotic resistance in eukaryotic cells. Using random mutagenesis of the cloned ribosomal RNA gene and in vivo selection, we isolated a C --> U mutation in the universally conserved sarcin/ricin domain in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 25S ribosomal RNA. This mutation changes the putative CG pair, which closes the GAGA tetraloop in the sarcin/ricin domain, into a weaker UG pair without eliminating ribosomal sensitivity to ricin. We show that suppression of several UGA, UAG, and frameshift mutations is evident when a portion of the cellular ribosomal RNA contains the C --> U mutation. Cells that contain essentially all mutant ribosomal RNA grow only 10% slower than the wild-type, but show increased suppression as well as resistance to paramomycin, G418, and hygromycin, and sensitivity to cycloheximide. Our results provide genetic evidence for the participation of the sarcin/ricin loop in maintaining translational accuracy and are discussed in terms of a hypothesis that this ribosomal RNA region normally undergoes a conformational change during translation.

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