[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the fact that all 23S rRNA nucleotides that build the ribosomal peptidyl transferase ribozyme are universally conserved, standard and atomic mutagenesis studies revealed the nucleobase identities being non-critical for catalysis. This indicates that these active site residues are highly conserved for functions distinct from catalysis. To gain insight into potential contributions, we have manipulated the nucleobases via an atomic mutagenesis approach and have utilized these chemically engineered ribosomes for in vitro translation reactions. We show that most of the active site nucleobases could be removed without significant effects on polypeptide production. Our data however highlight the functional importance of the universally conserved non-Watson-Crick base pair at position A2450-C2063. Modifications that disrupt this base pair markedly impair translation activities, while having little effects on peptide bond formation, tRNA drop-off and ribosome-dependent EF-G GTPase activity. Thus it seems that disruption of the A2450-C2063 pair inhibits a reaction following transpeptidation and EF-G action during the elongation cycle. Cumulatively our data are compatible with the hypothesis that the integrity of this A-C wobble base pair is essential for effective tRNA translocation through the peptidyl transferase center during protein synthesis.
Nucleic Acids Research 04/2010; 38(14):4844-55. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Following ribosomal peptide bond formation, the reaction products, peptidyl-tRNA and deacylated tRNA, need to be translocated from the A- and P-sites to the P- and E-sites, respectively. This process is facilitated by the GTPase elongation factor G (EF-G). The mechanism describing how the ribosome activates GTP hydrolysis is poorly understood in molecular terms. By using an 'atomic mutagenesis' approach, which allows the manipulation of specific functional groups on 23S rRNA nucleotides in the context of the entire ribosome, we disclose the adenine exocyclic N6 amino group at A2660 of the sarcin-ricin loop as a key determinant for triggering GTP hydrolysis on EF-G. We show that the purine pi system-expanding characteristics of the exocyclic functional group at the C6 position of A2660 are essential. We propose that stacking interactions of A2660 with EF-G may act as a molecular trigger to induce repositioning of suspected functional amino acids in EF-G that in turn promote GTP hydrolysis.
Nature Chemical Biology 03/2010; 6(5):344-51. · 12.95 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The GTPase super-family comprises a variety of G proteins found in all three domains of life. Although they are participating in completely different processes like signal transduction, protein biosynthesis and regulation of cell proliferation, they all share a highly conserved G domain and use a common mechanism for GTP hydrolysis. Exact timing in hydrolyzing the bound GTP serves as a molecular switch to initiate diverse cellular reactions. Classical GTPases depend on external proteins to fire GTP hydrolysis (GAPs), and following the GTPase reaction to exchange GDP for GTP (GEFs), converting the GTPase into the active state again. In recent years it became clear that there are many GTPases that do not follow this classical switch mode scheme. Certain ribosome-associated GTPases are not reliant on other GEF proteins to exchange GDP for GTP. Furthermore many of these G proteins are not activated by external GAPs, but by evolutionarily ancient molecules, namely by RNA.