Structure of a bacterial 30S ribosomal subunit at 5.5 A resolution

Nature. 1999 Aug 26;400(6747):833-40. doi: 10.1038/23631.


The 30S ribosomal subunit binds messenger RNA and the anticodon stem-loop of transfer RNA during protein synthesis. A crystallographic analysis of the structure of the subunit from the bacterium Thermus thermophilus is presented. At a resolution of 5.5 A, the phosphate backbone of the ribosomal RNA is visible, as are the alpha-helices of the ribosomal proteins, enabling double-helical regions of RNA to be identified throughout the subunit, all seven of the small-subunit proteins of known crystal structure to be positioned in the electron density map, and the fold of the entire central domain of the small-subunit ribosomal RNA to be determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Protein Conformation
  • RNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • RNA, Ribosomal / chemistry*
  • Ribosomal Proteins / chemistry*
  • Ribosomes / chemistry*
  • Ribosomes / ultrastructure
  • Thermus thermophilus / chemistry
  • Thermus thermophilus / ultrastructure


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Ribosomal Proteins

Associated data

  • PDB/1QD7