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We have investigated the mechanisms whereby equimolar quantities of ribosomal proteins accumulate and assemble into ribosomes of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Extra copies of the cry1 or RPL16 genes encoding ribosomal proteins rp59 or L16 were introduced into yeast by transformation. Excess cry1 or RPL16 mRNA accumulated in polyribosomes in these cells and was translated at wild-type rates into rp59 or L16 proteins. These excess proteins were degraded until their levels reached those of other ribosomal proteins. Identical results were obtained when the transcription of RPL16A was rapidly induced using GAL1-RPL16A promoter fusions, including a construct in which the entire RPL16A 5'-noncoding region was replaced with the GAL1 leader sequence. Our results indicate that posttranscriptional expression of the cry1 and RPL16 genes is regulated by turnover of excess proteins rather than autogenous regulation of mRNA splicing or translation. The turnover of excess rp59 or L16 is not affected directly by mutations that inactivate vacuolar hydrolases.

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Genes & development

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