Identification of bases in 16S rRNA essential for tRNA binding at the 30S ribosomal P site

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Science  13 Jan 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5195, pp. 234-237
DOI: 10.1126/science.7528943


Previous studies suggest that the mechanism of action of the ribosome in translation involves crucial transfer RNA (tRNA)-ribosomal RNA (rRNA) interactions. Here, a selection scheme was developed to identify bases in 16S rRNA that are essential for tRNA binding to the P site of the small (30S) ribosomal subunit. Modification of the N-1 and N-2 positions of 2-methylguanine 966 and of the N-7 position of guanine 1401 interfered with messenger RNA (mRNA)-dependent binding of tRNA to the P site. Modification of the same positions as well as of the N-1 and N-2 positions of guanine 926 interfered with mRNA-independent binding of tRNA at high magnesium ion concentration. These results suggest that these three bases are involved in intermolecular contacts between ribosomes and tRNA.