Late cytoplasmic maturation of the large ribosomal subunit
In all life ribosomes are the ribonucloprotein machines in charge of decoding the genetic code and synthesizing proteins. In eukaryotes, ribosomes are pre-assembled in the nucleus and exported to the cytoplasm where the final maturation steps occur prior to their partaking in translation. My dissertation work focused on aspects of the last two known steps of the pre-60S subunit cytoplasmic maturation. In the penultimate step, the anti-association factor Tif6 is released from 60S by the concerted action of the translocase-like GTPase Efl1 and Sdo1. The release of Tif6 is necessary for the ultimate maturation step, which involves release of the export adaptor Nmd3 by the ribosomal protein Rpl10 and the putative GTPase Lsg1. Nmd3 is an essential export adaptor of the 60S subunit. Nmd3 binds to the ribosome in the nucleolus and is the last known trans-acting factor to be released from the subunit in the cytoplasm. In order to gain a better understanding of the molecular events leading to the release of Nmd3 from the 60S subunit I set out to identify the binding site of Nmd3 on 60S. In a collaboration with Dr Joachim Frank’s laboratory, we obtained a cryo-EM model of Nmd3 in a complex with 60S showing Nmd3 binding to the subunit joining face of the ribosome. This work provided the first visualization of an export factor on a ribosomal subunit. The release of the anti-association factor Tif6 requires the translocase-like GTPase Efl1. Mutations in a loop of Rpl10 which embraces the P site tRNA trapped Tif6 on the subunit. These Rpl10 mutants could be suppressed by Tif6 mutants which have weakened affinity for the subunit. Mutations in Efl1 which suppress these Rpl10 mutants were also obtained. These suppressing mutations in Efl1 mapped to regions on the translocases eEF2 and EF-G important for conformational changes during translation. These results highlight molecular signaling between the P site, involving a loop of Rpl10, and Tif6, 90Å away. I propose that Efl1 promotes a translocation-like event during biogenesis of the 60S subunit prior to its first round of bona fide translation.