EFG-independent translocation of the mRNA:tRNA complex is promoted by modification of the ribosome with thiol-specific reagents

Daniel R. Southworth, Julie L. Brunelle, Rachel Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Translation of polyphenylalanine from a polyuridine template by the ribosome in the absence of the elongation factors EFG and EFTu (and the energy derived from GTP hydrolysis) is promoted by modification of the ribosome with thiol-specific reagents such as para-chloromercuribenzoate (pCMB). Here, we examine the translational cycle of modified ribosomes and show that peptide bond formation and tRNA binding are largely unaffected, whereas translocation of the mRNA:tRNA complex is substantially promoted by pCMB modification. The translocation movements that we observe are authentic by multiple criteria including the processivity of translation, accuracy of movement (three-nucleotide) along a defined mRNA template and sensitivity to antibiotics. Characterization of the modified ribosomes reveals that the protein content of the ribosomes is not depleted but that their subunit association properties are severely compromised. These data suggest that molecular targets (ribosomal proteins) in the interface region of the ribosome are critical barriers that influence the translocation of the mRNA:tRNA complex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-623
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Volume324
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

Keywords

  • Antibiotic
  • EFG
  • Ribosome
  • Thiol modification
  • Translocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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