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EMBO J. 1998 Jun 15;17(12):3478-83.

EF-G-catalyzed translocation of anticodon stem-loop analogs of transfer RNA in the ribosome.

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Center for Molecular Biology of RNA, Sinsheimer Laboratories, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.

Erratum in

  • EMBO J 1998 Sep 15;17(18):5519.


Translocation, catalyzed by elongation factor EF-G, is the precise movement of the tRNA-mRNA complex within the ribosome following peptide bond formation. Here we examine the structural requirement for A- and P-site tRNAs in EF-G-catalyzed translocation by substituting anticodon stem-loop (ASL) analogs for the respective tRNAs. Translocation of mRNA and tRNA was monitored independently; mRNA movement was assayed by toeprinting, while tRNA and ASL movement was monitored by hydroxyl radical probing by Fe(II) tethered to the ASLs and by chemical footprinting. Translocation depends on occupancy of both A and P sites by tRNA bound in a mRNA-dependent fashion. The requirement for an A-site tRNA can be satisfied by a 15 nucleotide ASL analog comprising only a 4 base pair (bp) stem and a 7 nucleotide anticodon loop. Translocation of the ASL is both EF-G- and GTP-dependent, and is inhibited by the translocational inhibitor thiostrepton. These findings show that the D, T and acceptor stem regions of A-site tRNA are not essential for EF-G-dependent translocation. In contrast, no translocation occurs if the P-site tRNA is substituted with an ASL, indicating that other elements of P-site tRNA structure are required for translocation. We also tested the effect of increasing the A-site ASL stem length from 4 to 33 bp on translocation from A to P site. Translocation efficiency decreases as the ASL stem extends beyond 22 bp, corresponding approximately to the maximum dimension of tRNA along the anticodon-D arm axis. This result suggests that a structural feature of the ribosome between the A and P sites, interferes with movement of tRNA analogs that exceed the normal dimensions of the coaxial tRNA anticodon-D arm.

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