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Biochemistry. 1998 Nov 24;37(47):16620-6.

Phosphorylation of ribosomal protein P0 is not essential for ribosome function but can affect translation.

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Centro de Biología Molecular "Severo Ochoa", Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.


Protein P0, an essential component of the eukaryotic ribosomal stalk, is found phosphorylated in the ribosome. Substitution of serine 302 in the amino acid sequence of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae P0 by either aspartic acid or cysteine abolishes in vitro and in vivo phosphorylation of the protein. On the contrary, the replacement of this serine by a threonine results in an increase in the protein phosphorylation under both sets of conditions. Therefore, this serine residue, which is part of a consensus casein kinase II modification site, SDDD, seems to be the phosphorylation site in protein P0. The effect of the mutations on the protein activity has been tested in S. cerevisiae W303dGP0 and D67dGP0, both of which carry a genomic P0 gene under the control of the GAL1 promoter. Transformation of the mutated genes in S. cerevisiae W303dGP0 allows cell growth at 30 degreesC in glucose-to repress the wild-type P0 expression-at the same rate as controls, and the ribosomes contain a normal amount of the other stalk components. A similar absence of effect of the mutations on growth was found in strain D67dGP0, which has ribosomes deprived of the P1 and P2 proteins. Therefore, P0 phosphorylation is not a requirement for ribosome activity in standard growth conditions either in the presence or in the absence of the other stalk proteins. However, a phenotypic effect is detected in the case of strain D67 transformed with the overphosphorylated threonine containing P0, which contrary to the wild-type and the other mutated proteins is unable to support cell growth at 37 degreesC in the presence of either 0.3 M NaCl or 0.8 M sorbitol. In vitro polymerizing tests indicate that this effect is not due to the thermosensitivity of the mutated protein. The results indicate that although P0 phosphorylation is not required for the overall ribosome activity, it may affect the expression of specific proteins involved in metabolic processes such as osmoregulation.

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