Indexed on: 01 Dec '96Published on: 01 Dec '96Published in: Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Mitochondria posses their own ribosomes responsible for the synthesis of a small number of proteins encoded by the mitochondrial genome. In yeast,Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the two ribosomal RNAs and a single ribosomal protein, Varl, are products of mitochondrial genes, and the remaining approximately 80 ribosomal proteins are encoded in the nucleus. The mitochondrial translation system is dispensable in yeast, providing an excellent experimental model for the molecular genetic analysis of the fundamental properties of ribosomes in general as well as adaptations required for the specialized role of ribosomes in mitochondria. Recent studies of the peptidyl transferase center, one of the most highly conserved functional centers of the ribosome, and the Varl protein, an unusual yet essential protein in the small ribosomal subunit, have provided new insight into conserved and divergent features of the mitochondrial ribosome.