The amino terminal domain from Mrt4 protein can functionally replace the RNA binding domain of the ribosomal P0 protein

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In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the Mrt4 protein is a component of the ribosome assembly machinery that shares notable sequence homology to the P0 ribosomal stalk protein. Here, we show that these proteins can not bind simultaneously to ribosomes and moreover, a chimera containing the first 137 amino acids of Mrt4 and the last 190 amino acids from P0 can partially complement the absence of the ribosomal protein in a conditional P0 null mutant. This chimera is associated with ribosomes isolated from this strain when grown under restrictive conditions, although its binding is weaker than that of P0. These ribosomes contain less P1 and P2 proteins, the other ribosomal stalk components. Similarly, the interaction of the L12 protein, a stalk base component, is affected by the presence of the chimera. These results indicate that Mrt4 and P0 bind to the same site in the 25S rRNA. Indeed, molecular dynamics simulations using modelled Mrt4 and P0 complexes provide further evidence that both proteins bind similarly to rRNA, although their interaction with L12 displays notable differences. Together, these data support the participation of the Mrt4 protein in the assembly of the P0 protein into the ribosome and probably, that also of the L12 protein.

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