Ribosomal RNA at the Decoding Site of the tRNA-Ribosome Complex

  • James Ofengand
  • Jerzy Ciesiolka
  • Kelvin Nurse
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 110)


Until recently, the protein components of the ribosome were considered to be the functional entities, the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) being viewed as merely a scaffold upon which the proteins were arranged. This view had its origin in part from the expectation that the proteins, by analogy with soluble enzymes, would play the crucial role in recognition of tRNA as well as in other ribosomal functions. It also was based on the fact that the early affinity labeling experiments identified primarily proteins (Ofengand, 1980). More recently, however, direct evidence for the proximity of rRNA at functional sites on the ribosome has been obtained (reviewed in Ofengand et al., 1984; 1985). The first demonstration that rRNA could be closely associated with a functional site was the crosslinking of 23S RNA by peptidyl transferase center-affinity labels (reviewed in Ofengand, 1980), although the exact site of crosslinking was not identified until very recently (Barta et al., 1984). The second example of rRNA proximity at a functional center, and the first case in which the exact nucleotide was identified, was the discovery of the close contact between C-1400 of Escherichia coli 16S RNA and the anticodon of P site bound tRNA at the decoding site (Ofengand et al., 1979; Prince et al., 1982). Subsequently, a nearby residue, C-1409, was shown to be indirectly involved in codon recognition(Li et al., 1982), and the not too distant G-1322 was found to be crosslinkable to S12 (Chiaruttini et al., 1982), a protein in contact with mRNA. The mRNA base-pairing region, A-1531 to A-1542 (Gold et al., 1981), is also not far from C-1400 in the 16S RNA secondary structure. However, G-462 and G-474, which were placed at the decoding site by Wagner et al. (1976) are quite distant. This latter result may be indicative of tertiary folding of rRNA within the subunit.


Anticodon Loop Aryl Azide Codon Recognition Exact Nucleotide Decode Site 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Ofengand
    • 1
  • Jerzy Ciesiolka
    • 1
  • Kelvin Nurse
    • 1
  1. 1.Roche Institute of Molecular BiologyRoche Research CenterNutleyUSA

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