Heterologous expression of Der homologs in an Escherichia coli der mutant and their functional complementation

Eunsil Choi, Nalae Kang, Young Jeon, Hyun Sook Pai, Sung Gun Kim, Jihwan Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


The unique Escherichia coli GTPase Der (double Era-like GTPase), which contains tandemly repeated GTP-binding domains, has been shown to play an essential role in 50S ribosomal subunit biogenesis. The depletion of Der results in the accumulation of precursors of 50S ribosomal subunits that are structurally unstable at low Mg2+ concentrations. Der homologs are ubiquitously found in eubacteria. Conversely, very few are conserved in eukaryotes, and none is conserved in archaea. In the present study, to verify their conserved role in bacterial 50S ribosomal subunit biogenesis, we cloned Der homologs from two gammaproteobacteria, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium; two pathogenic bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus and Neisseria gonorrhoeae; and the extremophile Deinococcus radiodurans and then evaluated whether they could functionally complement the E. coli der-null phenotype. Only K. pneumoniae and S. Typhimurium Der proteins enabled the E. coli der-null strain to grow under nonpermissive conditions. Sucrose density gradient experiments revealed that the expression of K. pneumoniae and S. Typhimurium Der proteins rescued the structural instability of 50S ribosomal subunits, which was caused by E. coli Der depletion. To determine what allows their complementation, we constructed Der chimeras. We found that only Der chimeras harboring both the linker and long C-terminal regions could reverse the growth defects of the der-null strain. Our findings suggest that ubiquitously conserved essential GTPase Der is involved in 50S ribosomal subunit biosynthesis in various bacteria and that the linker and C-terminal regions may participate in species-specific recognition or interaction with the 50S ribosomal subunit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2284-2296
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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