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Ribosomal protein S12 plays a pivotal role in decoding functions on the ribosome. X-ray crystallographic analyses of ribosomal complexes have revealed that S12 is involved in the inspection of codon-anticodon pairings in the ribosomal A site, as well as in the succeeding domain rearrangements of the 30S subunit that are essential for accommodation of aminoacyl-tRNA. A role for S12 in tRNA selection is also well supported by classical genetic analyses; mutations affecting S12 are readily isolated in bacteria and organelles, since specific alterations in S12 confer resistance to the error-inducing antibiotic streptomycin, and the ribosomes from many such streptomycin-resistant S12 mutants display decreased levels of miscoding. However, substitutions that confer resistance to streptomycin likely represent a very distinct class of all possible S12 mutants. Until recently, the technical difficulties in generating random, unselectable mutations in essential genes in complex operons have generally precluded the analysis of other classes of S12 alterations. Using a recombineering approach, we have targeted the Escherichia coli rpsL gene, encoding S12, for random mutagenesis and screened the resulting mutants for effects on decoding fidelity. We have recovered over 40 different substitutions located throughout the S12 protein that alter the accuracy of translation without substantially affecting the sensitivity to streptomycin. Moreover, this collection includes mutants that promote miscoding, as well as those that restrict decoding errors. These results affirm the importance of S12 in decoding processes and indicate that alterations in this essential protein can have diverse effects on the accuracy of decoding. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Deepali Agarwal, Steven T Gregory, Michael O'Connor. Error-prone and error-restrictive mutations affecting ribosomal protein S12. Journal of molecular biology. 2011 Jul 1;410(1):1-9

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PMID: 21575643

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