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Interconnection between assembly and synthesis of ribosomal proteins

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The effect of a defect in ribosome assembly on the rate of synthesis of ribosomal proteins was studied with three cold-sensitive mutants of Escherichia coli which possess mutations in the structural genes for ribosomal proteins S5 (rpsE), S8 (rpsH) or L6 (rplF8). The rate of protein synthesis was determined at different times after the shift to the nonpermissive condition. The following results were obtained: (i) The blocking of assembly induces a distinct polarity in the expression of most of the ribosomal protein transcriptional units. In the spc operon, this polarity affects the expression of genes “downstream” from each of the respective mutant alleles. (ii) Despite the fact that the formation of ribosomal proteins is greatly unbalanced at low temperature there is no accumulation of most of the ribosomal proteins (except L5 and L25) in the cytosol. This cannot be explained on the basis of autoregulation since the expression of the structural genes of some autoregulatory ribosomal proteins (e.g. S4) is much lower than that of non-regulating (but coregulated) proteins (e.g. S13). (iii) The polar effect reduces the expression of genes of ribosomal proteins from both subunits and may thereby introduce an interdependence of 30S and 50S synthesis. In the S5 mutant, the 5S rRNA binding proteins L5 and L25 are accumulated in the cytoplasm under the condition of unbalanced assembly whereas L18 is incorporated. This can be interpreted in the way that the reduced synthesis of L-proteins (L15 or L30) prevents L5 and L25 from incorporation into 50S precursor. (iv) Protein S20 is found bound both to 30S and 50S particles under nonpermissive condition and may participate both in 30S and 50S assembly.

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Communicated by K. Isono

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Böck, A. Interconnection between assembly and synthesis of ribosomal proteins. Molec. Gen. Genet. 184, 62–67 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00271196

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  • Structural Gene
  • Ribosomal Protein
  • Mutant Allele
  • Polar Effect
  • Transcriptional Unit