Bacterial genome sequencing has revealed a novel family of P-loop GTPases that are often essential for growth. Accumulating evidence suggests that these proteins are involved in biogenesis of the 30S or 50S ribosomal subunits. YqeH is a member of this Obg/Era GTPase family, with its function remains to be uncovered. Here, we present results showing that YqeH is involved in the 30S subunit biogenesis in Bacillus subtilis. We observed a reduction in the 70S ribosome and accumulation of the free 50S subunit in YqeH-depleted cells. Interestingly, no free 30S subunit accumulation was evident. Consistent with the theory that YqeH is involved in 30S subunit biogenesis, a precursor of 16S rRNA and its degradation products were detected. Additionally, the reduction of free 30S subunit was not observed in Era-depleted cells. YqeH overexpression did not compensate for growth defects in mutants devoid of Era and vice versa. Moreover, in vitro GTPase analyses showed that YqeH possessed high intrinsic GTPase activity. In contrast, Era showed slow GTPase activity, which was enhanced by the 30S ribosomal subunit. Our findings strongly suggest that YqeH and Era function at distinct checkpoints during 30S subunit assembly. B. subtilis yqeH is classified as an essential gene due to the inability of the IPTG-dependent Pspac-yqeH mutant to grow on LB or PAB agar plates in the absence of IPTG. However, in our experiments, the Pspac-yqeH mutant grew in PAB liquid medium without IPTG supplementation, albeit at an impaired rate. This finding raises the interesting possibility that YqeH participates in assembly of the 30S ribosomal subunit as well as other cellular functions essential for growth on solid media.
- Bacterial GTPase
- Circular permuted GTP-binding protein
- Ribosome biogenesis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology