Indexed on: 08 Feb '05Published on: 08 Feb '05Published in: Genetics
The translation elongation factor EF-Tu is a GTPase that delivers amino-acylated tRNAs to the ribosome during the elongation step of translation. EF-Tu/GDP is recycled by the guanine nucleotide exchange factor EF-Ts. Whereas EF-Ts is lacking in S. cerevisiae, both translation factors are found in S. pombe and H. sapiens mitochondria, consistent with the known similarity between fission yeast and human cell mitochondrial physiology. We constructed yeast mutants lacking these elongation factors. We show that mitochondrial translation is vital for S. pombe, as it is for human cells. In a genetic background allowing the loss of mitochondrial functions, a block in mitochondrial translation in S. pombe leads to a major depletion of mtDNA. The relationships between EF-Ts and EF-Tu from both yeasts and humans were investigated through functional complementation and coexpression experiments and by a search for suppressors of the absence of the S. pombe EF-Ts. We find that S. cerevisiae EF-Tu is functionally equivalent to the S. pombe EF-Tu/EF-Ts couple. Point mutations in the S. pombe EF-Tu can render it independent of its exchange factor, thereby mimicking the situation in S. cerevisiae.