Cameron, D. M., Gregory, S. T., Thompson, J., Suh, M. J., Limbach, P. A., Dahlberg, A. E.
Thermus thermophilus L11 Methyltransferase, PrmA, Is Dispensable for Growth and Preferentially Modifies Free Ribosomal Protein L11 Prior to Ribosome Assembly
J Bacteriol. 2004 Sep 01; 186(17): 5819-25.
The ribosomal protein L11 in bacteria is posttranslationally trimethylated at multiple amino acid positions by the L11 methyltransferase PrmA, the product of the prmA gene. The role of L11 methylation in ribosome function or assembly has yet to be determined, although the deletion of Escherichia coli prmA has no apparent phenotype. We have constructed a mutant of the extreme thermophile Thermus thermophilus in which the prmA gene has been disrupted with the htk gene encoding a heat-stable kanamycin adenyltransferase. This mutant shows no growth defects, indicating that T. thermophilus PrmA, like its E. coli homolog, is dispensable. Ribosomes prepared from this mutant contain unmethylated L11, as determined by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), and are effective substrates for in vitro methylation by cloned and purified T. thermophilus PrmA. MALDI-TOF MS also revealed that T. thermophilus L11 contains a total of 12 methyl groups, in contrast to the 9 methyl groups found in E. coli L11. Finally, we found that, as with the E. coli methyltransferase, the ribosomal protein L11 dissociated from ribosomes is a more efficient substrate for in vitro methylation by PrmA than intact 70S ribosomes, suggesting that methylation in vivo occurs on free L11 prior to its incorporation into ribosomes.
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