The synthetic capability of the Escherichia coli ribosome has attracted efforts to repurpose it for novel functions, such as the synthesis of polymers containing non-natural building blocks. However, efforts to repurpose ribosomes are limited by the lack of complete peptidyl transferase center (PTC) active site mutational analyses to inform design. To address this limitation, we leverage an in vitro ribosome synthesis platform to build and test every possible single nucleotide mutation within the PTC-ring, A-loop and P-loop, 180 total point mutations. These mutant ribosomes were characterized by assessing bulk protein synthesis kinetics, readthrough, assembly, and structure mapping. Despite the highly-conserved nature of the PTC, we found that >85% of the PTC nucleotides possess mutational flexibility. Our work represents a comprehensive single-point mutant characterization and mapping of the 70S ribosome's active site. We anticipate that it will facilitate structure-function relationships within the ribosome and make possible new synthetic biology applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas