The pseudouridine synthase RluD is required for normal ribosome assembly and function in Escherichia coli

Nancy S. Gutgsell, Murray P. Deutscher, James Ofengand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


RluD is the pseudouridine synthase responsible for the formation of Ψ1911, Ψ1915, and Ψ1917 in Escherichia coli 23S rRNA. Previous work from our laboratory demonstrated that disruption of the rluD gene and/or loss of the pseudouridine residues for which it is responsible resulted in a severe growth phenotype. In the current work we have examined further the effect of the loss of the RluD protein and its product pseudouridine residues in a deletion strain lacking the rluD gene. This strain exhibits defects in ribosome assembly, biogenesis, and function. Specifically, there is a deficit of 70S ribosomes, an increase in 50S and 30S subunits, and the appearance of new 62S and 39S particles. Analysis of the 39S particles indicates that they are immature precursors of the 50S subunits, whereas the 62S particles are derived from the breakdown of unstable 70S ribosomes. In addition, purified mutant 70S ribosomes were found to be somewhat less efficient than wild type in protein synthesis. The defect in ribosome assembly and resulting growth phenotype of the mutant could be restored by expression of wild-type RluD and synthesis of Ψ1911, Ψ1915, and Ψ1917 residues, but not by catalytically inactive mutant RluD proteins, incapable of pseudouridine formation. The data suggest that the loss of the pseudouridine residues can account for all aspects of the mutant phenotype; however, a possible second function of the RluD synthase is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1152
Number of pages12
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • 39S particles
  • Immature precursors
  • Protein synthesis
  • Pseudouridine residues
  • Ribosome assembly
  • RluD pseudouridine synthase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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