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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jul 22;286(29):25604-10. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.256255. Epub 2011 May 27.

Helix 69 is key for uniformity during substrate selection on the ribosome.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Structural studies of ribosome complexes with bound tRNAs and release factors show considerable contacts between these factors and helix 69 (H69) of 23 S rRNA. Although biochemical and genetic studies have provided some general insights into the role of H69 in tRNA and RF selection, a detailed understanding of these contributions remains elusive. Here, we present a pre- steady-state kinetic analysis establishing that two distinct regions of H69 make critical contributions to substrate selection. The loop of H69 (A1913) forms contacts necessary for the efficient accommodation of a subset of natural tRNA species, whereas the base of the stem (G1922) is specifically critical for UGA codon recognition by the class 1 release factor RF2. These data define a broad and critical role for this centrally located intersubunit helix (H69) in accurate and efficient substrate recognition by the ribosome.

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