During the highly conserved process of eukaryotic ribosome formation, RNA follows a maturation path with well-defined, successive intermediates that dynamically associate with many pre-ribosomal proteins. A comprehensive description of the assembly process is still lacking. To obtain data on the timing and order of association of the different pre-ribosomal factors, a strategy consists in the use of pre-ribsomal particles isolated from mutants that block ribosome formation at different steps. Immunoblots, inherently limited to only a few factors, have been applied to evaluate the accumulation or decrease of pre-ribosomal intermediates under mutant conditions. For a global protein-level description of different 60S ribosomal subunit maturation intermediates in yeast, we have adapted a method of in vivo isotopic labelling and mass spectrometry to study pre-60S complexes isolated from strains in which rRNA processing was affected by individual depletion of five factors: Ebp2, Nog1, Nsa2, Nog2 or Pop3. We obtained quantitative data for 45 distinct pre-60S proteins and detected coordinated changes for over 30 pre-60S factors in the analysed mutants. These results led to the characterisation of the composition of early, intermediate and late pre-ribosomal complexes, specific for crucial maturation steps during 60S assembly in eukaryotes.
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