The candidate phyla radiation (CPR) is a large bacterial group consisting mainly of uncultured lineages. They have small cells and small genomes, and they often lack ribosomal proteins uL1, bL9, and/or uL30, which are basically ubiquitous in non-CPR bacteria. Here, we comprehensively analyzed the genomic information on CPR bacteria and identified their unique properties. The distribution of protein lengths in CPR bacteria peaks at around 100–150 amino acids, whereas the position of the peak varies in the range of 100–300 amino acids in free-living non-CPR bacteria, and at around 100–200 amino acids in most symbiotic non-CPR bacteria. These results show that the proteins of CPR bacteria are smaller, on average, than those of free-living non-CPR bacteria, like those of symbiotic non-CPR bacteria. We found that ribosomal proteins bL28, uL29, bL32, and bL33 have been lost in CPR bacteria in a taxonomic lineage-specific manner. Moreover, the sequences of approximately half of all ribosomal proteins of CPR differ, in part, from those of non-CPR bacteria, with missing regions or specifically added regions. We also found that several regions in the 16S, 23S, and 5S rRNAs of CPR bacteria are lacking, which presumably caused the total predicted lengths of the three rRNAs of CPR bacteria to be smaller than those of non-CPR bacteria. The regions missing in the CPR ribosomal proteins and rRNAs are located near the surface of the ribosome, and some are close to one another. These observations suggest that ribosomes are smaller in CPR bacteria than those in free-living non-CPR bacteria, with simplified surface structures.
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