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New findings on the mitochondrial translational activator

The pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins characterized by tandem repeats of a degenerate 35-amino-acid motif function in all aspects of organellar RNA metabolism, many of which are essential for organellar gene expression. Nanjing Normal University researchers have found that Ppr10 functions as a general mitochondrial translational activator, is likely to interact with mitochondrial mRNAs and mitochondrial translation initiation factor Mti2, and that Ppr10 requires Mpa1 association for stability and function.

As the “power house”, mitochondria provide energy for the cells through oxidative phosphorylation. The dysfunction of mitochondria will lead to various diseases, such as metabolic and degenerative disorder. Mitochondrial gene expression plays an essential role in the exertion of mitochondrials’s function. The manipulation of the mitochondrial gene expression is well presented in mitochondria translational activation. In order to have a more comprehensive understanding of the translational manipulation mechanism of the mitochondrial mRNA, Ying Huang research group carries out the study on the translational manipulation mechanism of the mitochondrial mRNA by employing a fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

The research finds out that the PPR protein, Ppr10 and the novel Ppr10-associated protein, designated Mpa1 generates compounds and the deletion of ppr10 severely impairs mitochondrial protein synthesis out of unsteadiness. In addition, in the compound Ppr10-Mpa1, Ppr10 is likely to have a direct connection with mRNA in which the Mpa1 acts as a stabilizing factor. Besides, the research also discovers that compound Ppr10-Mpa1 activates the translation of mitochondrial mRNA. This research firstly reports the participation of PPR protein compound in the translational manipulation of mitochondrial mRNA which is of great importance for the in-depth study of PPR protein’s identification on RNA mechanism and mitochondrial mRNA’s translational manipulation mechanism.

The paper, "The Schizosaccharomyces pombe PPR protein Ppr10 associates with a novel protein Mpa1 and acts as a mitochondrial translational activator " was published on Feb. 22 by the world-famous journal Nucleic Acids Research whose Impact Factor is 9.2 in 2016. Yirong Wang and Jianhua Yan are respectively the first and the second author of this paper.

The work was subsidized by The General Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China, and at the same time supported by the Logistics department and the Biological Analyzing and Testing Center in the School of Life Sciences as well as the public platform of the National Key Laboratory in Nanjing Agricultural University.

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