Elongation factor 4 (EF4) is one of the most conserved proteins present in bacteria as well as in mitochondria and chloroplasts of eukaryotes. Although EF4 has the unique ability to catalyze the back-translocation reaction on posttranslocation state ribosomes, the physiological role of EF4 remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that EF4 is stored at the membrane of Escherichia coli cells and released into the cytoplasm upon conditions of high ionic strength or low temperature. Under such conditions, wild-type E. coli cells overgrow mutant cells lacking the EF4 gene within 5-10 generations. Elevated intracellular Mg(2+) concentrations or low temperature retard bacterial growth and inhibit protein synthesis, probably because of formation of aberrant elongating ribosomal states. We suggest that EF4 binds to these stuck ribosomes and remobilizes them, consistent with the EF4-dependent enhancement (fivefold) in protein synthesis observed under these unfavorable conditions. The strong selective advantage conferred by the presence of EF4 at high intracellular ionic strength or low temperatures explains the ubiquitous distribution and high conservation of EF4.
Nitric oxide associated-1 (NOA1) is an evolutionarily conserved guanosine triphosphate (GTP) binding protein that localizes predominantly to mitochondria in mammalian cells. On the basis of bioinformatic analysis, we predicted its possible involvement in ribosomal biogenesis, although this had not been supported by any experimental evidence. Here we determine NOA1 function through generation of knockout mice and in vitro assays. NOA1-deficient mice exhibit midgestation lethality associated with a severe developmental defect of the embryo and trophoblast. Primary embryonic fibroblasts isolated from NOA1 knockout embryos show deficient mitochondrial protein synthesis and a global defect of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Additionally, Noa1?/? cells are impaired in staurosporine-induced apoptosis. The analysis of mitochondrial ribosomal subunits from Noa1?/? cells by sucrose gradient centrifugation and Western blotting showed anomalous sedimentation, consistent with a defect in mitochondrial ribosome assembly. Furthermore, in vitro experiments revealed that intrinsic NOA1 GTPase activity was stimulated by bacterial ribosomal constituents. Taken together, our data show that NOA1 is required for mitochondrial protein synthesis, likely due to its yet unidentified role in mitoribosomal biogenesis. Thus, NOA1 is required for such basal mitochondrial functions as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis and apoptosis.
Nascent polypeptide-associated complex (NAC) was identified in eukaryotes as the first cytosolic factor that contacts the nascent polypeptide chain emerging from the ribosome. NAC is present as a homodimer in archaea and as a highly conserved heterodimer in eukaryotes. Mutations in NAC cause severe embryonically lethal phenotypes in mice, Drosophila melanogaster, and Caenorhabditis elegans. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae NAC is quantitatively associated with ribosomes. Here we show that NAC contacts several ribosomal proteins. The N terminus of betaNAC, however, specifically contacts near the tunnel exit ribosomal protein Rpl31, which is unique to eukaryotes and archaea. Moreover, the first 23 amino acids of betaNAC are sufficient to direct an otherwise non-associated protein to the ribosome. In contrast, alphaNAC (Egd2p) contacts Rpl17, the direct neighbor of Rpl31 at the ribosomal tunnel exit site. Rpl31 was also recently identified as a contact site for the SRP receptor and the ribosome-associated complex. Furthermore, in Escherichia coli peptide deformylase (PDF) interacts with the corresponding surface area on the eubacterial ribosome. In addition to the previously identified universal adapter site represented by Rpl25/Rpl35, we therefore refer to Rpl31/Rpl17 as a novel universal docking site for ribosome-associated factors on the eukaryotic ribosome.
EF4, although structurally similar to the translocase EF-G, promotes back-translocation of tRNAs on the ribosome and is important for bacterial growth under certain conditions. Here, using a coordinated set of in vitro kinetic measures, including changes in the puromycin reactivity of peptidyl-tRNA and in the fluorescence of labeled tRNAs and mRNA, we elucidate the kinetic mechanism of EF4-catalyzed back-translocation and determine the effects of the translocation inhibitors spectinomycin and viomycin on the process. EF4-dependent back-translocation proceeds from a post-translocation (POST) complex to a pre-translocation (PRE) complex via a four-step kinetic scheme (i.e., POST-->I(1)-->I(2)-->I(3)-->PRE, which is not the simple reverse of translocation). During back-translocation, movements of the tRNA core regions and of mRNA are closely coupled to one another but are sometimes decoupled from movement of the 3-end of peptidyl-tRNA. EF4 may be thought of as performing an interrupted catalysis of back-translocation, stopping at the formation of I(3) rather than catalyzing the complete process of back-translocation culminating in PRE complex formation. The delay in polypeptide elongation resulting from transient accumulation of I(3) is likely to be important for optimizing functional protein biosynthesis.
The tmRNA/SmpB system, which is almost universal in bacteria, rescues bacterial ribosomes stalled at the end of non-stop mRNAs (mRNAs lacking a stop codon). In addition, a few bacteria, including Escherichia coli, have developed a second two-component system as reported by Chadani et?al. (2012). A small protein, ArfA of 55 amino acids (formerly called YdhL), mediates binding of release factor 2 to the ribosomal A site lacking a complete mRNA codon and thereby triggers translational termination and rescue of the stalled ribosome.
Previously we have shown that the CCA end of a P-tRNA can be crosslinked with the RPL36AL protein of the large subunit of mammalian ribosomes; it belongs to the L44e protein family present in all eukaryotic and archaeal ribosomes. Here we confirm and extend this finding and demonstrate that: 1) this crosslink is specific for a tRNA at the P/E hybrid site, as a tRNA in all other tRNA positions of pre-translocational ribosomes could not be crosslinked with a ribosomal protein, 2) the crosslink was formed most efficiently with C74 and C75 of P/E-tRNA, but could also connect the ultimate A of this tRNA with Lys53 of protein RPL36AL, 3) this protein contains seven monomethylated residues (three lysyl and three arginyl residues, as well as glutaminyl residue 51), 4) Q51 is part of a conserved GGQ motif in the L44e proteins in eukaryotic 80S ribosomes that is identical to the universally conserved motif of release factors implicated in promoting peptidyl-tRNA hydrolysis, and 5) the large number of modifications, in which some of the residues were methylated to about 50?%, might indicate that protein RPL36AL is a preferential target for regulation.
The YbeB (DUF143) family of uncharacterized proteins is encoded by almost all bacterial and eukaryotic genomes but not archaea. While they have been shown to be associated with ribosomes, their molecular function remains unclear. Here we show that YbeB is a ribosomal silencing factor (RsfA) in the stationary growth phase and during the transition from rich to poor media. A knock-out of the rsfA gene shows two strong phenotypes: (i) the viability of the mutant cells are sharply impaired during stationary phase (as shown by viability competition assays), and (ii) during transition from rich to poor media the mutant cells adapt slowly and show a growth block of more than 10 hours (as shown by growth competition assays). RsfA silences translation by binding to the L14 protein of the large ribosomal subunit and, as a consequence, impairs subunit joining (as shown by molecular modeling, reporter gene analysis, in vitro translation assays, and sucrose gradient analysis). This particular interaction is conserved in all species tested, including Escherichia coli, Treponema pallidum, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Synechocystis PCC 6803, as well as human mitochondria and maize chloroplasts (as demonstrated by yeast two-hybrid tests, pull-downs, and mutagenesis). RsfA is unrelated to the eukaryotic ribosomal anti-association/60S-assembly factor eIF6, which also binds to L14, and is the first such factor in bacteria and organelles. RsfA helps cells to adapt to slow-growth/stationary phase conditions by down-regulating protein synthesis, one of the most energy-consuming processes in both bacterial and eukaryotic cells.
Bacterial ribosomes stalled at the 3 end of malfunctioning messenger RNAs can be rescued by transfer-messenger RNA (tmRNA)-mediated trans-translation. The SmpB protein forms a complex with the tmRNA, and the transfer-RNA-like domain (TLD) of the tmRNA then enters the A site of the ribosome. Subsequently, the TLD-SmpB module is translocated to the P site, a process that is facilitated by the elongation factor EF-G, and translation is switched to the mRNA-like domain (MLD) of the tmRNA. Accurate loading of the MLD into the mRNA path is an unusual initiation mechanism. Despite various snapshots of different ribosome-tmRNA complexes at low to intermediate resolution, it is unclear how the large, highly structured tmRNA is translocated and how the MLD is loaded. Here we present a cryo-electron microscopy reconstruction of a fusidic-acid-stalled ribosomal 70S-tmRNA-SmpB-EF-G complex (carrying both of the large ligands, that is, EF-G and tmRNA) at 8.3?Å resolution. This post-translocational intermediate (TI(POST)) presents the TLD-SmpB module in an intrasubunit ap/P hybrid site and a tRNA(fMet) in an intrasubunit pe/E hybrid site. Conformational changes in the ribosome and tmRNA occur in the intersubunit space and on the solvent side. The key underlying event is a unique extra-large swivel movement of the 30S head, which is crucial for both tmRNA-SmpB translocation and MLD loading, thereby coupling translocation to MLD loading. This mechanism exemplifies the versatile, dynamic nature of the ribosome, and it shows that the conformational modes of the ribosome that normally drive canonical translation can also be used in a modified form to facilitate more complex tasks in specialized non-canonical pathways.
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