Drug resistance through ribosome splitting and rRNA disordering in mycobacteria

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Drug resistance through ribosome splitting and rRNA disordering in mycobacteria


Majumdar, S.; Kashyap, A.; Koripella, R. K.; Sharma, M. R.; Hurst-Hess, K.; Manjari, S. R.; Banavali, N. K.; Ghosh, P.; Agrawal, R. K.


HflX is known to rescue stalled ribosomes and is implicated in antibiotic resistance in several bacteria. Here we present several high-resolution cryo-EM structures of mycobacterial HflX in complex with the ribosome and its 50S subunit, with and without antibiotics. These structures reveal a distinct mechanism for HflX-mediated ribosome splitting and antibiotic resistance in mycobacteria. In addition to dissociating ribosome into two subunits, mycobacterial HflX mediates persistent disordering of multiple 23S rRNA helices to generate an inactive pool of 50S subunits. Mycobacterial HflX also acts as an anti-association factor by binding to pre-dissociated 50S subunits. A mycobacteria-specific insertion in HflX reaches further into the peptidyl transferase center. The position of this insertion overlaps with ribosome-bound macrolides or lincosamide class of antibiotics. The extended conformation of insertion seen in the absence of these antibiotics retracts and adjusts around the bound antibiotics instead of physically displacing them. It therefore likely imparts antibiotic resistance by sequestration of the antibiotic-bound inactive 50S subunits.

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