Mapping of ribosomal 23S ribosomal RNA modifications in Clostridium sporogenes

Finn Kirpekar, Lykke H Hansen, Julie Mundus, Stine Tryggedsson, Patrícia Teixeira Dos Santos, Eleni Ntokou, Birte Vester

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All organisms contain RNA modifications in their ribosomal RNA (rRNA), but the importance, positions and exact function of these are still not fully elucidated. Various functions such as stabilizing structures, controlling ribosome assembly and facilitating interactions have been suggested and in some cases substantiated. Bacterial rRNA contains much fewer modifications than eukaryotic rRNA. The rRNA modification patterns in bacteria differ from each other, but too few organisms have been mapped to draw general conclusions. This study maps 23S ribosomal RNA modifications in Clostridium sporogenes that can be characterized as a non-toxin producing Clostridium botulinum. Clostridia are able to sporulate and thereby survive harsh conditions, and are in general considered to be resilient to antibiotics. Selected regions of the 23S rRNA were investigated by mass spectrometry and by primer extension analysis to pinpoint modified sites and the nature of the modifications. Apparently, C. sporogenes 23S rRNA contains few modifications compared to other investigated bacteria. No modifications were identified in domain II and III of 23S rRNA. Three modifications were identified in domain IV, all of which have also been found in other organisms. Two unusual modifications were identified in domain V, methylated dihydrouridine at position U2449 and dihydrouridine at position U2500 (Escherichia coli numbering), in addition to four previously known modified positions. The enzymes responsible for the modifications were searched for in the C. sporogenes genome using BLAST with characterized enzymes as query. The search identified genes potentially coding for RNA modifying enzymes responsible for most of the found modifications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRNA Biology
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1060–1070
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • 23S RNA
  • RNA methylations
  • RNA modifications
  • dihydrouridine
  • mass spectroscopy
  • oh5C
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 23S/chemistry
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional
  • Clostridium/classification
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation


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