The Antibiotics Micrococcin and Thiostrepton Interact Directly With 23S rRNA Nucleotides 1067A and 1095A

Nucleic Acids Res. 1994 Feb 11;22(3):357-63. doi: 10.1093/nar/22.3.357.


The antibiotics thiostrepton and micrococcin bind to the GTPase region in domain II of 23S rRNA, and inhibit ribosomal A-site associated reactions. When bound to the ribosome, these antibiotics alter the accessibility of nucleotides 1067A and 1095A towards chemical reagents. Plasmid-coded Escherichia coli 23S rRNAs with single mutations at positions 1067 or 1095 were expressed in vivo. Mutant ribosomes are functional in protein synthesis, although those with transversion mutations function less effectively. Antibiotics were bound under conditions where wild-type and mutant ribosomes compete in the same reaction for drug molecules; binding was analysed by allele-specific footprinting. Transversion mutations at 1067 reduce thiostrepton binding more than 1000-fold. The 1067G substitution gives a more modest decrease in thiostrepton binding. The changes at 1095 slightly, but significantly, lower the affinity of ribosomes for thiostrepton, again with the G mutation having the smallest effect. Micrococcin binding to ribosomes is reduced to a far greater extent than thiostrepton by all the 1067 and 1095 mutations. Extrapolating these results to growing cells, mutation of nucleotide 1067A confers resistance towards micrococcin and thiostrepton, while substitutions at 1095A confer micrococcin resistance, and increase tolerance towards thiostrepton. These data support an rRNA tertiary structure model in which 1067A and 1095A lie in close proximity, and are key components in the drug binding site. None of the mutations alters either the higher order rRNA structure or the binding of r-proteins. We therefore conclude that thiostrepton and micrococcin interact directly with 1067A and 1095A.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry*
  • Bacteriocins
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Peptides*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 23S / chemistry*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Ribosomal Proteins / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Thiostrepton / chemistry*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacteriocins
  • Peptides
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 23S
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ribosomal Proteins
  • micrococcin
  • Thiostrepton