Comparative analysis of ribosomal protein L5 sequences from bacteria of the genus Thermus.
The genes for the ribosomal 5S rRNA binding protein L5 have been cloned from three extremely thermophilic eubacteria, Thermus flavus, Thermus thermophilus HB8 and Thermus aquaticus (Jahn et al, submitted). Genes for protein L5 from the three Thermus strains display 95% G/C in third positions of codons. Amino acid sequences deduced from the DNA sequence were shown to be identical for T flavus and T thermophilus, although the corresponding DNA sequences differed by two T to C transitions in the T thermophilus gene. Protein L5 sequences from T flavus and T thermophilus are 95% homologous to L5 from T aquaticus and 56.5% homologous to the corresponding E coli sequence. The lowest degrees of homology were found between the T flavus/T thermophilus L5 proteins and those of yeast L16 (27.5%), Halobacterium marismortui (34.0%) and Methanococcus vannielii (36.6%). From sequence comparison it becomes clear that thermostability of Thermus L5 proteins is achieved by an increase in hydrophobic interactions and/or by restriction of steric flexibility due to the introduction of amino acids with branched aliphatic side chains such as leucine. Alignment of the nine protein sequences equivalent to Thermus L5 proteins led to identification of a conserved internal segment, rich in acidic amino acids, which shows homology to subsequences of E coli L18 and L25. The occurrence of conserved sequence elements in 5S rRNA binding proteins and ribosomal proteins in general is discussed in terms of evolution and function.