Received July 11, 2011; Revision received July 19, 2011
5S rRNA is an integral component of the ribosome of all living organisms. It is known that the ribosome without 5S rRNA is functionally inactive. However, the question about the specific role of this RNA in functioning of the translation apparatus is still open. This review presents a brief history of the discovery of 5S rRNA and studies of its origin and localization in the ribosome. The previously expressed hypotheses about the role of this RNA in the functioning of the ribosome are discussed considering the unique location of 5S rRNA in the ribosome and its intermolecular contacts. Based on analysis of the current data on ribosome structure and its functional complexes, the role of 5S rRNA as an intermediary between ribosome functional domains is discussed.
KEY WORDS: 5S rRNA, ribosomal proteins, intermolecular interactions, ribosome, translation