Bacillus subtilis YlqF belongs to the Era/Obg subfamily of small GTP-binding proteins and is essential for bacterial growth. Here we report that YlqF participates in the late step of 50 S ribosomal subunit assembly. YlqF was co-fractionated with the 50 S subunit, depending on the presence of noncleavable GTP analog. Moreover, the GTPase activity of YlqF was stimulated specifically by the 50 S subunit in vitro. Dimethyl sulfate footprinting analysis disclosed that YlqF binds to a unique position in 23 S rRNA. Yeast two-hybrid data revealed interactions between YlqF and the B. subtilis L25 protein (Ctc). The interaction was confirmed by the pull-down assay of the purified proteins. Specifically, YlqF is positioned around the A-site and P-site on the 50 S subunit. Proteome analysis of the abnormal 50 S subunits that accumulated in YlqF-depleted cells showed that L16 and L27 proteins, located near the YlqF-binding domain, are missing. Our results collectively indicate that YlqF will organize the late step of 50 S ribosomal subunit assembly.
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