Author(s): Carr JF, Lee HJ, Jaspers JB, Dahlberg AE, Jogl G,
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Abstract The bacterial ribosome and its associated translation factors are frequent targets of antibiotics, and antibiotic resistance mutations have been found in a number of these components. Such mutations can potentially interact with one another in unpredictable ways, including the phenotypic suppression of one mutation by another. These phenotypic interactions can provide evidence of long-range functional interactions throughout the ribosome and its functional complexes and potentially give insights into antibiotic resistance mechanisms. In this study, we used genetics and experimental evolution of the thermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus to examine the ability of mutations in various components of the protein synthesis apparatus to suppress the streptomycin resistance phenotypes of mutations in ribosomal protein S12, specifically those located distant from the streptomycin binding site. With genetic selections and strain constructions, we identified suppressor mutations in EF-Tu or in ribosomal protein L11. Using experimental evolution, we identified amino acid substitutions in EF-Tu or in ribosomal proteins S4, S5, L14, or L19, some of which were found to also relieve streptomycin resistance. The wide dispersal of these mutations is consistent with long-range functional interactions among components of the translational machinery and indicates that streptomycin resistance can result from the modulation of long-range conformational signals. IMPORTANCE: The thermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus has become a model system for high-resolution structural studies of macromolecular complexes, such as the ribosome, while its natural competence for transformation facilitates genetic approaches. Genetic studies of T. thermophilus ribosomes can take advantage of existing high-resolution crystallographic information to allow a structural interpretation of phenotypic interactions among mutations. Using a combination of genetic selections, strain constructions, and experimental evolution, we find that certain mutations in the translation apparatus can suppress the phenotype of certain antibiotic resistance mutations. Suppression of resistance can occur by mutations located distant in the ribosome or in a translation factor. These observations suggest the existence of long-range conformational signals in the translating ribosome, particularly during the decoding of mRNA. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
This article was published in J Bacteriol
and referenced in Mycobacterial Diseases