RNA degradation in fission yeast mitochondria is stimulated by a member of a new family of proteins that are conserved in lower eukaryotes.
Wiesenberger G, Speer F, Haller G, Bonnefoy N, Schleiffer A, Schafer B
Journal of Molecular Biology (2007)
Category: mitochondrial DNA, RNA processing ¤ Added: Jun 12, 2007 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
We report here on the role of open reading frame (ORF) SPCC1183.04c of Schizosaccharomyces pombe in mitochondrial RNA metabolism. A mutant deleted for this ORF on chromosome III accumulates mitochondrial transcripts with the exception of the cob mRNA. A detailed Northern blot analysis showed that the effect results from a decrease in RNA degradation but not from RNA processing deficiencies. Overexpression of the SPCC1183.04c gene in a S. pombe wild-type strain is characterized by slow growth at 37 degrees C on non-fermentable carbon sources and a significant reduction of steady-state levels of mitochondrial transcripts. A NCBI BLASTP search with the amino acid sequence deduced from the S. pombe gene identified significant similarity to a number of proteins in fungi (e.g. Ascomycota, Basidiomycota) and in some non-fungal eukaryotes (e.g. ciliate, slime mold, red algae). By heterologous expression of SPCC1183.04c in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae pet127Delta strain, we demonstrate that the fission yeast protein and Pet127p from S. cerevisiae function similarly: The fission yeast gene complemented the respiratory defect associated with the pet127Delta allele and partially restored the RNA processing phenotype. Although it lacks any recognizable targeting signal, the S. pombe protein is imported into S. cerevisiae mitochondria in vivo. We conclude from our results that the fission yeast SPCC1183.04c gene is a member of a new protein family that functions to stimulate mitochondrial RNA degradation, a function that is conserved within the mitochondria of lower eukaryotes but seems to have been replaced by alternative pathways in metazoans and higher plants.