For bacteria, a small genome means some serious decluttering — even in the ribosome

Researchers have studied the genomes of some 200 strains of bacteria to determine which proteins in the ribosome, part of the key cell machinery, can be safely lost and why. Research showed that frequently lost ribosomal proteins tend to be placed on the ribosome surface, where they usually have fewer contacts to other ribosome components. Yet since ribosomal proteins are in the cell’s essential toolkit, they are generally among the last to leave a ‘downsizing’ bacterial genome.