A time-resolved investigation of ribosomal subunit association

Scott P. Hennelly, Ayman Antoun, Måns Ehrenberg, Claudio O. Gualerzi, William Knight, J. Stephen Lodmell, Walter E. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The notion that the ribosome is dynamic has been supported by various biochemical techniques, as well as by differences observed in high-resolution structures of ribosomal complexes frozen in various functional states. Yet, the mechanisms and extent of rRNA dynamics are still largely unknown. We have used a novel, fast chemical-modification technique to provide time-resolved details of 16 S rRNA structural changes that occur as bridges are formed between the ribosomal subunits as they associate. Association of different 16 S rRNA regions was found to be a sequential, multi-step process involving conformational rearrangements within the 30 S subunit. Our results suggest that key regions of 16 S rRNA, necessary for decoding and tRNA A-site binding, are structurally altered in a time-dependent manner by association with the 50 S ribosomal subunits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1258
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 11 2005


  • Dynamics
  • RNA
  • Ribosome
  • Structure
  • Subunit association


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