Deconstructing the ribosome: specific interactions of a ribosomal RNA fragment with intact and fragmented L23 ribosomal protein
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The complexity of translation is a classical dilemma in the evolution of biological systems. Efficient translation requires coordination of complex, highly evolved RNAs and proteins; however, complex, highly evolved RNAs and proteins could not evolve without efficient translation system. At the heart of this complexity is the ribosome, itself a remarkably complex molecular machine. Our work illustrates the ribosome as deconstructed units of modification. Here we have deconstructed a segment of the ribosome to interacting RNA-protein units. L23 interacts in vivo with both Domain III (DIII) and Domain IIIcore (DIIIcore) independently of the fully assembled ribosome. This suggests that DIIIcore represents the functional rRNA unit in DIII-L23 interaction. Furthermore, L23peptide sustains binding function in vitro with both DIII and DIIIcore independently of any stabilizing effects from the globular domain of L23. The ability of L23peptide to form a 1:1 complex with both DIII and DIIIcore suggests that L23peptide is the functional rProtein unit in DIII-L23 interaction. We believe that our results will stimulate interest and discussions in the significance of 3D architecture and units of evolution in the ribosome. The ubiquity of the ribosome in cellular life prognosticates that our results impact and appeal to biologists, chemists, bioinformaticists, as well as the general scientific community.