Single amino-acid mutation in a Drosoph ila melanogaster ribosomal protein: An insight in uL11 transcriptional activity

PLoS One. 2022 Aug 18;17(8):e0273198. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0273198. eCollection 2022.


The ribosomal protein uL11 is located at the basis of the ribosome P-stalk and plays a paramount role in translational efficiency. In addition, no mutant for uL11 is available suggesting that this gene is haplo-insufficient as many other Ribosomal Protein Genes (RPGs). We have previously shown that overexpression of Drosophila melanogaster uL11 enhances the transcription of many RPGs and Ribosomal Biogenesis genes (RiBis) suggesting that uL11 might globally regulate the level of translation through its transcriptional activity. Moreover, uL11 trimethylated on lysine 3 (uL11K3me3) interacts with the chromodomain of the Enhancer of Polycomb and Trithorax Corto, and both proteins co-localize with RNA Polymerase II at many sites on polytene chromosomes. These data have led to the hypothesis that the N-terminal end of uL11, and more particularly the trimethylation of lysine 3, supports the extra-ribosomal activity of uL11 in transcription. To address this question, we mutated the lysine 3 codon using a CRISPR/Cas9 strategy and obtained several lysine 3 mutants. We describe here the first mutants of D. melanogaster uL11. Unexpectedly, the uL11K3A mutant, in which the lysine 3 codon is replaced by an alanine, displays a genuine Minute phenotype known to be characteristic of RPG deletions (longer development, low fertility, high lethality, thin and short bristles) whereas the uL11K3Y mutant, in which the lysine 3 codon is replaced by a tyrosine, is unaffected. In agreement, the rate of translation decreases in uL11K3A but not in uL11K3Y. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments show that the interaction between uL11 and the Corto chromodomain is impaired by both mutations. However, Histone Association Assays indicate that the mutant proteins still bind chromatin. RNA-seq analyses from wing imaginal discs show that Corto represses RPG expression whereas very few genes are deregulated in uL11 mutants. We propose that Corto, by repressing RPG expression, ensures that all ribosomal proteins are present at the correct stoichiometry, and that uL11 fine-tunes its transcriptional regulation of RPGs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins* / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins* / metabolism
  • Lysine* / genetics
  • Lysine* / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Ribosomal Proteins* / genetics
  • Ribosomal Proteins* / metabolism
  • Transcriptional Activation / genetics


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Ribosomal Proteins
  • Lysine

Grants and funding

FP: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Sorbonne University, Fondation ARC grant (PJA20171206407) HG: Doctoral fellowship from the MESRI and Fondation ARC (ARCDOC42020020001381) JD: Doctoral fellowship from the MESRI and Fondation pour la Recherche médicale (FDT20160435164) The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.