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Volume 2 (2009), Issue 4, Pages 241-251
Research Article

Many nonuniversal archaeal ribosomal proteins are found in conserved gene clusters

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University, Houston, TX 77251, USA

Received 28 December 2008; Accepted 31 March 2009

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The genomic associations of the archaeal ribosomal proteins, (r-proteins), were examined in detail. The archaeal versions of the universal r-protein genes are typically in clusters similar or identical and to those found in bacteria. Of the 35 nonuniversal archaeal r-protein genes examined, the gene encoding L18e was found to be associated with the conserved L13 cluster, whereas the genes for S4e, L32e and L19e were found in the archaeal version of the spc operon. Eleven nonuniversal protein genes were not associated with any common genomic context. Of the remaining 19 protein genes, 17 were convincingly assigned to one of 10 previously unrecognized gene clusters. Examination of the gene content of these clusters revealed multiple associations with genes involved in the initiation of protein synthesis, transcription or other cellular processes. The lack of such associations in the universal clusters suggests that initially the ribosome evolved largely independently of other processes. More recently it likely has evolved in concert with other cellular systems. It was also verified that a second copy of the gene encoding L7ae found in some bacteria is actually a homolog of the gene encoding L30e and should be annotated as such.