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Abnormalities in rRNA Modifications

Exploring potential changes in ribosomal RNA (rRNA) modification patterns in different cell types and disease is critical, as this will provide a basis for understanding their roles. Creative Biolabs has established a modern experimental platform and an excellent team of scientists to help customers around the world solve the challenges of ribosome-related projects.

Overview of rRNA Modifications

Ribosomes are critical for the translation of all cellular proteins. Ribosomes are composed of distinct rRNAs and ribosomal proteins. rRNAs, the most abundant cellular RNA species, have gradually evolved as a structural scaffold and catalytic center for protein synthesis in organisms. Modifications of rRNA can affect global ribosome structure and function, including decoding, residence time, peptidyl transfer, and interactions with mRNA and translation factors. Modifications are present in nearly all cells, and these modifications have emerged as key steps in the regulation of RNA biogenesis and function. There are two main types of modifications present in rRNA: 2'-O-methylation (Nm) and pseudouridine (Ψ).

Importance of rRNA Modifications

Currently, more and more information indicated that Ψ and Nm modifications are essential for life activities. They appear to be present in all rRNAs, and the content of each rRNA increases with phylogenetic complexity. In general, rRNA region modifications with important functions are abundant. Furthermore, scientists found that a large number of modifications in eukaryotic rRNA occur at the ribosomal subunit interface where translation occurs. Many rRNA fragments in these regions are involved in the formation of bridges between subunits. Some of these bridging structures also interact with other translation factors, suggesting that modifications to these bridging regions may affect the translation process.

Fig. 1 Diagram for the Schematic representation of translational effects. (Janin, M., Coll-SanMartin, L. & Esteller, M., 2020)Fig. 1 Schematic representation of translational effects.¹

Abnormalities in rRNA Modifications

Generally speaking, rRNA modifications introduced at different phases of the ribosome biogenesis process help stabilize the structure of the rRNA, thereby ensuring the accuracy and efficiency of translation. However, modifications of rRNA can also represent an important source of ribosomal heterogeneity, which may alter ribosomal function in response to environmental and developmental cues and disease. Studies have shown that blocking one or two modifications has little effect on cell growth, while the loss of three to five modifications has a range of adverse consequences. In addition, abnormal rRNA modifications are known to increase susceptibility to ribosome-based antibiotics.

rRNA modification has broad prospects, but there are relatively few related studies. Significant gaps remain to be filled if the complex mechanisms of rRNA modification are to be better understood. Advances in technology provide a perspective on further deciphering the complex RNA modification language. If you have any difficulties with rRNA and ribosome analysis, please contact us in time.


  1. Janin, Maxime, Laia Coll-SanMartin, and Manel Esteller. "Disruption of the RNA modifications that target the ribosome translation machinery in human cancer." Molecular cancer 19 (2020): 1-13.
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