A sequence-specific modification of the human 5.8 S rRNA in isolated 60 S subunits, non-programmed 80 S ribosomes and ribosomes complexed with mRNA and tRNAs was studied with the use of a derivative of the nonaribonucleotide UCUGUGUUU bearing a perfluorophenylazide group on the C-5 atom of the 5′-terminal uridine. Part of the oligonucleotide moiety of the derivative was complementary to the 5.8 S rRNA sequence ACACA in positions 82–86 flanked by two guanines at the 5′-terminus. The target for the cross-linking was identified as nucleotide G89 on the 5.8 S RNA. In addition, several ribosomal proteins were modified by the oligonucleotide derivative bound to the 5.8 S rRNA and proteins L6 and L8 were among them. Application of these results to known cryo-electron microscopy images of eukaryotic 60 S subunits made it possible to suggest that the central part of the 5.8 S rRNA containing the sequence 82–86 and proteins L6 and L8 are located at the base of the L1 stalk of the 60 S subunit. The efficacy of cross-linking in non-programmed 80 S ribosomes was much lower than in isolated 60 S subunits and in programmed 80 S ribosomes. We suggest that the difference in the accessibilities of the central part of the 5.8 S rRNA in the programmed and non-programmed 80 S ribosomes is caused by a conformational switch that seems to be required to dissociate the 80 S ribosomes into the subunits after termination of translation to allow initiation of translation of a new template.

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