A specific mutation of Escherichia coli ribosomal protein S5, in which glycine is changed to aspartate at position 28 [S5(G28D)], results in cold sensitivity and defects in ribosome biogenesis and translational fidelity. In an attempt to understand the roles of S5 in these essential cellular functions, we selected extragenic suppressors and identified rimJ as a high-copy suppressor of the cold-sensitive phenotype associated with the S5(G28D) mutation. Our studies indicate that RimJ overexpression suppresses the growth defects, anomalous ribosome profiles and mRNA misreading exhibited by the S5(G28D) mutant strain. Although previously characterized as the N-acetyltransferase of S5, our data indicate that RimJ, when devoid of acetyltransferase activity, can suppress S5(G28D) defects thus indicating that the suppression activity of RimJ is not dependent on its acetyltransferase activity. Additionally, RimJ appears to associate with pre-30S subunits indicating that it acts on the ribonucleoprotein particle. These findings suggest that RimJ has evolved dual functionality; it functions in r-protein acetylation and as a ribosome assembly factor in E. coli.