Mitochondrial tRNA cleavage by tRNA-targeting ribonuclease causes mitochondrial dysfunction observed in mitochondrial disease.

Research paper by Tetsuhiro T Ogawa, Ayano A Shimizu, Kazutoshi K Takahashi, Makoto M Hidaka, Haruhiko H Masaki

Indexed on: 30 Jul '14Published on: 30 Jul '14Published in: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a genome possessed by mitochondria. Since reactive oxygen species (ROS) are generated during aerobic respiration in mitochondria, mtDNA is commonly exposed to the risk of DNA damage. Mitochondrial disease is caused by mitochondrial dysfunction, and mutations or deletions on mitochondrial tRNA (mt tRNA) genes are often observed in mtDNA of patients with the disease. Hence, the correlation between mt tRNA activity and mitochondrial dysfunction has been assessed. Then, cybrid cells, which are constructed by the fusion of an enucleated cell harboring altered mtDNA with a ρ(0) cell, have long been used for the analysis due to difficulty in mtDNA manipulation. Here, we propose a new method that involves mt tRNA cleavage by a bacterial tRNA-specific ribonuclease. The ribonuclease tagged with a mitochondrial-targeting sequence (MTS) was successfully translocated to the mitochondrial matrix. Additionally, mt tRNA cleavage, which resulted in the decrease of cytochrome c oxidase (COX) activity, was observed.