Crystal structure of ribosomal protein L4 shows RNA-binding sites for ribosome incorporation and feedback control of the S10 operon

EMBO J. 2000 Mar 1;19(5):807-18. doi: 10.1093/emboj/19.5.807.


Ribosomal protein L4 resides near the peptidyl transferase center of the bacterial ribosome and may, together with rRNA and proteins L2 and L3, actively participate in the catalysis of peptide bond formation. Escherichia coli L4 is also an autogenous feedback regulator of transcription and translation of the 11 gene S10 operon. The crystal structure of L4 from Thermotoga maritima at 1.7 A resolution shows the protein with an alternating alpha/beta fold and a large disordered loop region. Two separate binding sites for RNA are discernible. The N-terminal site, responsible for binding to rRNA, consists of the disordered loop with flanking alpha-helices. The C-terminal site, a prime candidate for the interaction with the leader sequence of the S10 mRNA, involves two non-consecutive alpha-helices. The structure also suggests a C-terminal protein-binding interface, through which L4 could be interacting with protein components of the transcriptional and/or translational machineries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Escherichia coli
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Operon
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • RNA, Ribosomal / metabolism
  • Ribosomal Proteins / chemistry*
  • Ribosomal Proteins / genetics
  • Ribosomal Proteins / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Thermotoga maritima


  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Ribosomal Proteins
  • ribosomal protein L4