The key function of a conserved and modified rRNA residue in the ribosomal response to the nascent peptide

EMBO J. 2010 Sep 15;29(18):3108-17. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2010.180. Epub 2010 Jul 30.


The ribosome is able to monitor the structure of the nascent peptide and can stall in response to specific peptide sequences. Such programmed stalling is used for the regulation of gene expression. The molecular mechanisms of the nascent-peptide recognition and ribosome stalling are unknown. We identified the conserved and posttranscriptionally modified 23S rRNA nucleotide m(2)A2503 located at the entrance of the ribosome exit tunnel as a key component of the ribosomal response mechanism. A2503 mutations abolish nascent-peptide-dependent stalling at the leader cistrons of several inducible antibiotic resistance genes and at the secM regulatory gene. Remarkably, lack of the C2 methylation of A2503 significantly function induction of expression of the ermC gene, indicating that the functional role of posttranscriptional modification is to fine-tune ribosome-nascent peptide interactions. Structural and biochemical evidence suggest that m(2)A2503 may act in concert with the previously identified nascent-peptide sensor, A2062, in the ribosome exit tunnel to relay the stalling signal to the peptidyl transferase centre.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism*
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Bacterial / physiology*
  • RNA, Ribosomal / physiology*
  • Ribosomes / physiology*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal