The small subunit processome is the first precursor of the small eukaryotic ribosomal subunit. During its assembly in the nucleolus, many ribosome biogenesis factors, an RNA chaperone, and ribosomal proteins associate with the nascent pre-rRNA. Biochemical studies have elucidated the rRNA-subdomain dependent recruitment of these factors during SSU processome assembly and have been complemented by structural studies of the assembled particle. Ribosome biogenesis factors encapsulate and guide subdomains of pre-ribosomal RNA in distinct compartments. This prevents uncoordinated maturation and enables processing of regions not accessible in the mature subunit. By sequentially reducing conformational freedom, flexible proteins facilitate the incorporation of dynamic subcomplexes into a globular particle. Large rearrangements within the SSU processome are required for compaction into the mature small ribosomal subunit.
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