Crystal structure of the catalytic domain of RluD, the only rRNA pseudouridine synthase required for normal growth of Escherichia coli

Mark Del Campo, James Ofengand, Arun Malhotra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations


Escherichia coli pseudouridine synthase RluD makes pseudouridines 1911, 1915, and 1917 in the loop of helix 69 in 23S RNA. These are the most highly conserved ribosomal pseudouridines known. Of 11 pseudouridine synthases in E. coli, only cells lacking RluD have severe growth defects and abnormal ribosomes. We have determined the 2.0 Å structure of the catalytic domain of RluD (residues 77-326), the first structure of an RluA family member. The catalytic domain folds into a mainly antiparallel β-sheet flanked by several loops and helices. A positively charged cleft that presumably binds RNA leads to the conserved Asp 139. The RluD N-terminal S4 domain, connected by a flexible linker, is disordered in our structure. RluD is very similar in both catalytic domain structure and active site arrangement to the pseudouridine synthases RsuA, TruB, and TruA. We identify five sequence motifs, two of which are novel, in the RluA, RsuA, TruB, and TruA families, uniting them as one superfamily. These results strongly suggest that four of the five families of pseudouridine synthases arose by divergent evolution. The RluD structure also provides insight into its multisite specificity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-239
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004



  • ψ1911
  • ψ1915
  • ψ1917
  • 23S rRNA
  • Motifs
  • RluA family

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology

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