Specificity and kinetics of 23S rRNA modification enzymes RlmH and RluD

RNA. 2010 Nov;16(11):2075-84. doi: 10.1261/rna.2234310. Epub 2010 Sep 3.


Along the ribosome assembly pathway, various ribosomal RNA processing and modification reactions take place. Stem-loop 69 in the large subunit of Escherichia coli ribosomes plays a substantial role in ribosome functioning. It contains three highly conserved pseudouridines synthesized by pseudouridine synthase RluD. One of the pseudouridines is further methylated by RlmH. In this paper we show that RlmH has unique substrate specificity among rRNA modification enzymes. It preferentially methylates pseudouridine and less efficiently uridine. Furthermore, RlmH is the only known modification enzyme that is specific to 70S ribosomes. Kinetic parameters determined for RlmH are the following: The apparent K(M) for substrate 70S ribosomes is 0.51 ± 0.06 μM, and for cofactor S-adenosyl-L-methionine 27 ± 3 μM; the k(cat) values are 4.95 ± 1.10 min⁻¹ and 6.4 ± 1.3 min⁻¹, respectively. Knowledge of the substrate specificity and the kinetic parameters of RlmH made it possible to determine the kinetic parameters for RluD as well. The K(M) value for substrate 50S subunits is 0.98 ± 0.18 μM and the k(cat) value is 1.97 ± 0.46 min⁻¹. RluD is the first rRNA pseudouridine synthase to be kinetically characterized. The determined rates of RluD- and RlmH-directed modifications of 23S rRNA are compatible with the rate of 50S assembly in vivo. The fact that RlmH requires 30S subunits demonstrates the dependence of 50S subunit maturation on the simultaneous presence of 30S subunits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism*
  • Hydro-Lyases / genetics
  • Hydro-Lyases / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Methylation
  • Methyltransferases / genetics
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 23S / metabolism*
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 23S
  • Methyltransferases
  • RlmH protein, E coli
  • Hydro-Lyases
  • RluD protein, E coli