A Comparison of the Crystal Structures of Eukaryotic and Bacterial SSU Ribosomal RNAs Reveals Common Structural Features in the Hypervariable Regions

Date

2012-05-31

Authors

Lee, Jung C.
Gutell, Robin R.

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Volume Title

Publisher

Public Library of Science

Abstract

While the majority of the ribosomal RNA structure is conserved in the three major domains of life – archaea, bacteria, and eukaryotes, specific regions of the rRNA structure are unique to at least one of these three primary forms of life. In particular, the comparative secondary structure for the eukaryotic SSU rRNA contains several regions that are different from the analogous regions in the bacteria. Our detailed analysis of two recently determined eukaryotic 40S ribosomal crystal structures, Tetrahymena thermophila and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and the comparison of these results with the bacterial Thermus thermophilus 30S ribosomal crystal structure: (1) revealed that the vast majority of the comparative structure model for the eukaryotic SSU rRNA is substantiated, including the secondary structure that is similar to both bacteria and archaea as well as specific for the eukaryotes, (2) resolved the secondary structure for regions of the eukaryotic SSU rRNA that were not determined with comparative methods, (3) identified eukaryotic helices that are equivalent to the bacterial helices in several of the hypervariable regions, (4) revealed that, while the coaxially stacked compound helix in the 540 region in the central domain maintains the constant length of 10 base pairs, its two constituent helices contain 5+5 bp rather than the 6+4 bp predicted with comparative analysis of archaeal and eukaryotic SSU rRNAs.

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Citation

Lee JC, Gutell RR (2012) A Comparison of the Crystal Structures of Eukaryotic and Bacterial SSU Ribosomal RNAs Reveals Common Structural Features in the Hypervariable Regions. PLoS ONE 7(5): e38203. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038203