Ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) form a fundamental structure of ribosome, and play crucial roles in protein biosynthesis. To investigate functional importance of RNA helices in both 16S and 23S rRNAs, we devised an E. coli genetic system that allowed us to identify and select functional deletions in rRNAs. We here describe many RNA helices in rRNAs to be shortened or completely truncated. These results suggest architectural flexibility of rRNAs in ribosome assembly and function.
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