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Ribosome Recycling Factor

mitochondrial ribosome recycling factor
Symbol MRRF
Entrez 92399
HUGO 7234
OMIM 604602
RefSeq NM_138777
UniProt Q96E11
Other data
Locus Chr. 9 q32-q34.1

Ribosome Recycling Factor (RRF) is a protein found in bacterial cells as well as eukaryotic organelles, specifically mitochondria and chloroplasts. It functions to recycle ribosomes after completion of protein synthesis.

Additional recommended knowledge



RRF was disocvered in the early 1970s by the groundbreaking work[1][2][3][4] of Akira Kaji and Akikazu Hiroshima at the University of Pennsylvania. Their work described the requirement for two protein factors to release ribosomes from mRNA. These two factors were identified as RRF, an unknown protein until then, and Elongation Factor G (EF-G), a protein already identified and known to function in protein synthesis. RRF was originally called Ribosome Releasing Factor but is now called Ribosome Recycling Factor.


Recent evidence suggests RRF may accomplish the recycling of ribosomes by splitting ribosomes into subunits, thereby releasing the bound mRNA[5].

Loss of RRF Function:

  • In Bacteria (specifically Escherichia coli), loss of the gene encoding RRF is deleterious [6]. This makes RRF a possible target for new antibacterial drugs.
  • Yeast mitochondrial RRF (mtRRF) is encoded by a gene in the cell nucleus. Loss of function of this gene leads to mitochondrial genome instability and respiratory incompetence [7].

Structure of RRF and Binding to Ribosomes

The crystal structure of RRF was first determined by X-ray diffraction in 1999 [8]. The most striking revelation was that RRF is a near-perfect structural mimic of tRNA, in both size and dimensions. One view of RRF can be seen here.

Despite the tRNA-mimicry, RRF binds to ribosomes quite differently from the way tRNA does [9]. It has been suggested that ribosomes bind proteins (or protein domain) of similar shape and size to tRNA, and this, rather than function, explains the observed structural mimicry.


  1. ^ Hiroshima and Kaji (1970) "Factor Dependent Breakdown of Polysomes" BBRC Vol. 41(4), 977-883.
  2. ^ Hirashima and Kaji (1972) "Factor-dependent Release of Ribosomes from Messenger RNA. Requirement for Two Heat-Stable Factors" Journal of Molecular Biology Vol. 65(1), 43-58.
  3. ^ Hirashima and Kaji (1972) "Purification and Properties of Ribosome-Releasing Factor" Biochemistry Vol. 11(22), 4037-4044.
  4. ^ Hirashima and Kaji (1973) "Role of Elongation Factor G and a Protein Factor on the Release of Ribosomes from Messenger Ribonucleic Acid" Journal of Biological Chemistry Vol. 248(21), 7580-7587.
  5. ^ Hirokawa et al. (2006) "The Ribosome Recycling Step: Consensus or Controversy?" Trends in Biochemical Sciences Vol. 31(3), 143-149.
  6. ^ Janosi et al. (1994) "Ribosome recycling factor (ribosome releasing factor) is essential for bacterial growth" PNAS Vol. 91(10), 4249-4253.
  7. ^ Teyssier et al. (2003) "Temperature-sensitive mutation in yeast mitochondrial ribosome recycling factor (RRF)" NAR Vol. 31(14), 4218-4226.
  8. ^ Selmer et al. (1999) "Crystal structure of Thermotoga maritima ribosome recycling factor: a tRNA mimic" Science Vol. 286(5448), 2349-2352.
  9. ^ Agrawal et al. (2004) "Visualization of ribosome-recycling factor on the Escherichia coli 70S ribosome: Functional implications" PNAS, Vol. 101(24), 8900-8905.

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ribosome_Recycling_Factor". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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