UMMS Affiliation

RNA Therapeutics Institute; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Publication Date


Document Type



Cell Biology | Molecular Biology | Nucleic Acids, Nucleotides, and Nucleosides


5S rRNA is an indispensable component of cytoplasmic ribosomes in all species. The functions of 5S rRNA and the reasons for its evolutionary preservation as an independent molecule remain unclear. Here we used ribosome engineering to investigate whether 5S rRNA autonomy is critical for ribosome function and cell survival. By linking circularly permutated 5S rRNA with 23S rRNA we generated a bacterial strain devoid of free 5S rRNA. Viability of the engineered cells demonstrates that autonomous 5S rRNA is dispensable for cell growth under standard conditions and is unlikely to have essential functions outside the ribosome. The fully assembled ribosomes carrying 23S-5S rRNA are highly active in translation. However, the engineered cells accumulate aberrant 50S subunits unable to form stable 70S ribosomes. Cryo-EM analysis revealed a malformed peptidyl transferase center in the misassembled 50S subunits. Our results argue that the autonomy of 5S rRNA is preserved due to its role in ribosome biogenesis.


Cryoelectron microscopy, Ribosome, RNA

Rights and Permissions

Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

DOI of Published Version



Huang S, Aleksashin NA, Loveland AB, Klepacki D, Reier K, Kefi A, Szal T, Remme J, Jaeger L, Vázquez-Laslop N, Korostelev AA, Mankin AS. Ribosome engineering reveals the importance of 5S rRNA autonomy for ribosome assembly. Nat Commun. 2020 Jun 9;11(1):2900. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16694-8. PMID: 32518240; PMCID: PMC7283268. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nature communications

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.