Thiostrepton, a macrocyclic thiopeptide antibiotic, inhibits prokaryotic translation by interfering with the function of elongation factor G (EF-G). Here, we have used 70S ribosome binding and GTP hydrolysis assays to study the effects of thiostrepton on EF-G and a newly described translation factor, elongation factor 4 (EF4). In the presence of thiostrepton, ribosome-dependent GTP hydrolysis is inhibited for both EF-G and EF4, with IC(50) values equivalent to the 70S ribosome concentration (0.15M). Further studies indicate the mode of thiostrepton inhibition is to abrogate the stable binding of EF-G and EF4 to the 70S ribosome. In support of this model, an EF-G truncation variant that does not possess domains IV and V was shown to possess ribosome-dependent GTP hydrolysis activity that was not affected by the presence of thiostrepton (>100M). Lastly, chemical footprinting was employed to examine the nature of ribosome interaction and tRNA movements associated with EF4. In the presence of non-hydrolyzable GTP, EF4 showed chemical protections similar to EF-G and stabilized a ratcheted state of the 70S ribosome. These data support the model that thiostrepton inhibits stable GTPase binding to 70S ribosomal complexes, and a model for the first step of EF4-catalyzed reverse-translocation is presented.
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