We have produced mutations in a cloned Escherichia coli 23S rRNA gene at positions G2252 and G2253. These sites are protected in chemical footprinting studies by the 3′ terminal CCA of P site-bound tRNA. Three possible base changes were introduced at each position and the mutations produced a range of effects on growth rate and translational accuracy. Growth of cells bearing mutations at 2252 was severely compromised while the only mutation at 2253 causing a marked reduction in growth rate was a G to C transversion. Most of the mutations affected translational accuracy, causing increased readthrough of UGA, UAG and UAA nonsense mutations as well as +1 and −1 frameshifting in a lacZ reporter gene in vivo . UGA nonsense mutation at codon 243 of the trpA gene. The C2253 mutation was also found not to interact with alleles of rpsL coding for restrictive forms of ribosomal protein S12. These results provide further evidence that nucleotides localized to the P site in the 50S ribosomal subunit influence the accuracy of decoding in the ribosomal A site.