Title

Deletion of the leader peptide of the mitochondrially encoded precursor of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cytochrome c oxidase subunit II

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-1997

Abstract

Cytochrome c oxidase subunit II (Cox2p) of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is synthesized within mitochondria as a precursor, pre-Cox2p. The 15-amino acid leader peptide is processed after export to the intermembrane space. Leader peptides are relatively unusual in mitochondrially coded proteins: indeed mammalian Cox2p lacks a leader peptide. We generated two deletions in the S. cerevisiae COX2 gene, removing either the leader peptide (cox2-20) or the leader peptide and processing site (cox2-21) without altering either the promoter or the mRNA-specific translational activation site. When inserted into mtDNA, both deletions substantially reduced the steady-state levels of Cox2p and caused a tight nonrespiratory phenotype. A respiring pseudorevertant of the cox2-20 mutant was heteroplasmic for the original mutant mtDNA and a ρ mtDNA whose deletion fused the first 251 codons of the mitochondrial gene encoding cytochrome b to the cox2-20 sequence. The resulting fusion protein was processed to yield functional Cox2p. Thus, the presence of amino-terminal cytochrome b sequence bypassed the need for the pre-Cox2p leader peptide. We propose that the pre-Cox2p leader peptide contains a targeting signal necessary for membrane insertion, without which it remains in the matrix and is rapidly degraded.

Publication Name

Genetics

Volume Number

145

First Page

903

Last Page

910

Issue Number

4

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