Mitochondrial membrane complex that contains proteins necessary for tRNA import in Trypanosoma brucei.
ABSTRACT: The mitochondrial genome of Trypanosoma brucei does not contain genes encoding tRNAs; instead this protozoan parasite must import nuclear-encoded tRNAs from the cytosol for mitochondrial translation. Previously, it has been shown that mitochondrial tRNA import requires ATP hydrolysis and a proteinaceous mitochondrial membrane component. However, little is known about the mitochondrial membrane proteins involved in tRNA binding and translocation into the mitochondrion. Here we report the purification of a mitochondrial membrane complex using tRNA affinity purification and have identified several protein components of the putative tRNA translocon by mass spectrometry. Using an in vivo tRNA import assay in combination with RNA interference, we have verified that two of these proteins, Tb11.01.4590 and Tb09.v1.0420, are involved in mitochondrial tRNA import. Using Protein C Epitope -Tobacco Etch Virus-Protein A Epitope (PTP)-tagged Tb11.01.4590, additional associated proteins were identified including Tim17 and other mitochondrial proteins necessary for mitochondrial protein import. Results presented here identify and validate two novel protein components of the putative tRNA translocon and provide additional evidence that mitochondrial tRNA and protein import have shared components in trypanosomes.
Project description:In plants, as in most eukaryotic cells, import of nuclear-encoded cytosolic tRNAs is an essential process for mitochondrial biogenesis. Despite its broad occurrence, the mechanisms governing RNA transport into mitochondria are far less understood than protein import. This article demonstrates by Northwestern and gel-shift experiments that the plant mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) protein interacts with tRNA in vitro. It shows also that this porin, known to play a key role in metabolite transport, is a major component of the channel involved in the tRNA translocation step through the plant mitochondrial outer membrane, as supported by inhibition of tRNA import into isolated mitochondria by VDAC antibodies and Ruthenium red. However VDAC is not a tRNA receptor on the outer membrane. Rather, two major components from the TOM (translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane) complex, namely TOM20 and TOM40, are important for tRNA binding at the surface of mitochondria, suggesting that they are also involved in tRNA import. Finally, we show that proteins and tRNAs are translocated into plant mitochondria by different pathways. Together, these findings identify unexpected components of the tRNA import machinery and suggest that the plant tRNA import pathway has evolved by recruiting multifunctional proteins.
Project description:Mitochondrial tRNA import is widespread, but mechanistic insights of how tRNAs are translocated across mitochondrial membranes remain scarce. The parasitic protozoan T. brucei lacks mitochondrial tRNA genes. Consequently, it imports all organellar tRNAs from the cytosol. Here we investigated the connection between tRNA and protein translocation across the mitochondrial inner membrane. Trypanosomes have a single inner membrane protein translocase that consists of three heterooligomeric submodules, which all are required for import of matrix proteins. In vivo depletion of individual submodules shows that surprisingly only the integral membrane core module, including the protein import pore, but not the presequence-associated import motor are required for mitochondrial tRNA import. Thus we could uncouple import of matrix proteins from import of tRNAs even though both substrates are imported into the same mitochondrial subcompartment. This is reminiscent to the outer membrane where the main protein translocase but not on-going protein translocation is required for tRNA import. We also show that import of tRNAs across the outer and inner membranes are coupled to each other. Taken together, these data support the 'alternate import model', which states that tRNA and protein import while mechanistically independent use the same translocation pores but not at the same time.
Project description:Trypanosoma brucei imports all mitochondrial transfer RNAs (tRNAs) from the cytosol. By using cell lines that allow independent tetracycline-inducible RNA interference and isopropyl-?-D-thiogalactopyranoside-inducible expression of a tagged tRNA, we show that ablation of Tim17 and mitochondrial heat-shock protein 70, components of the inner-membrane protein translocation machinery, strongly inhibits import of newly synthesized tRNAs. These findings, together with previous results in yeast and plants, suggest that the requirement for mitochondrial protein-import factors might be a conserved feature of mitochondrial tRNA import in all systems.
Project description:In kinetoplastid protozoa, import of cytosolic tRNAs into mitochondria occurs through tRNAs interacting with membrane-bound proteins, the identities of which are unknown. The inner membrane RNA import complex of Leishmania tropica contains multiple proteins and is active for import in vitro. RIC1, the largest subunit of this complex, is structurally homologous to the conserved alpha subunit of F1 ATP synthase. The RIC1 gene complemented an atpA mutation in Escherichia coli. Antisense-mediated knockdown of RIC1/F1alpha in Leishmania resulted in depletion of several mitochondrial tRNAs belonging to distinct subsets (types I and II) that interact cooperatively or antagonistically within the import complex. The knockdown-induced defect in import of type I tRNAs was rectified in a reconstituted system by purified RIC1/F1alpha alone, but recovery of type II tRNA import additionally required a type I tRNA. RIC1/F1alpha formed stable complexes with type I, but not type II, tRNAs through the cooperation of its nucleotide binding and C-terminal domains. Thus, RIC1/F1alpha is a type I tRNA import receptor. As expected of a bifunctional protein, RIC1/F1alpha is shared by both the import complex and by respiratory complex V. Alternative use of ancient respiratory proteins may have been an important step in the evolution of tRNA import.
Project description:The mitochondrion of Trypanosoma brucei lacks tRNA genes. Its translation system therefore depends on the import of cytosolic, nucleus-encoded tRNAs. Thus, most trypanosomal tRNAs function in both the cytosol and the mitochondrion, and all are of the eukaryotic type. This is also the case for the elongator tRNA(Met), whereas the only other trypanosomal tRNA(Met), the eukaryotic initiator, is found exclusively in the cytosol. Unlike their cytosolic counterparts, organellar initiator tRNAs(Met) carry a formylated methionine. This raises the question of how initiation of translation works in trypanosomal mitochondria, where only elongator tRNA(Met) is found. Using in organello charging and formylation assays, we show that unexpectedly a fraction of elongator tRNA(Met) becomes formylated after import into mitochondria. Furthermore, in vitro experiments with mitochondrial extracts demonstrate that only the trypanosomal elongator and not the initiator tRNA(Met) is recognized by the formylation activity. Finally, RNA interference assays identify the gene encoding the trypanosomal formylase activity. Whereas the predicted protein is homologous to prokaryotic and mitochondrial methionyl-tRNA(Met) formyltransferases, it has about twice the mass of any of these proteins.
Project description:Mitochondria from diverse phyla, including protozoa, fungi, higher plants, and humans, import tRNAs from the cytosol in order to ensure proper mitochondrial translation. Despite the broad occurrence of this process, our understanding of tRNA import mechanisms is fragmentary, and crucial questions about their regulation remain unanswered. In the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas, a precise correlation was found between the mitochondrial codon usage and the nature and amount of imported tRNAs. This led to the hypothesis that tRNA import might be a dynamic process able to adapt to the mitochondrial genome content. By manipulating the Chlamydomonas mitochondrial genome, we introduced point mutations in order to modify its codon usage. We find that the codon usage modification results in reduced levels of mitochondrial translation as well as in subsequent decreased levels and activities of respiratory complexes. These effects are linked to the consequential limitations of the pool of tRNAs in mitochondria. This indicates that tRNA mitochondrial import cannot be rapidly regulated in response to a novel genetic context and thus does not appear to be a dynamic process. It rather suggests that the steady-state levels of imported tRNAs in mitochondria result from a co-evolutive adaptation between the tRNA import mechanism and the requirements of the mitochondrial translation machinery.
Project description:Mitochondrial tRNA import is widespread in eukaryotes. Yet, the mechanism that determines its specificity is unknown. Previous in vivo experiments using the tRNAs(Met), tRNA(Ile) and tRNA(Lys) have suggested that the T-stem nucleotide pair 51:63 is the main localization determinant of tRNAs in Trypanosoma brucei. In the cytosol-specific initiator tRNA(Met), this nucleotide pair is identical to the main antideterminant that prevents interaction with cytosolic elongation factor (eEF1a). Here we show that ablation of cytosolic eEF1a, but not of initiation factor 2, inhibits mitochondrial import of newly synthesized tRNAs well before translation or growth is affected. tRNA(Sec) is the only other cytosol-specific tRNA in T. brucei. It has its own elongation factor and does not bind eEF1a. However, a mutant of the tRNA(Sec) expected to bind to eEF1a is imported into mitochondria. This import requires eEF1a and aminoacylation of the tRNA. Thus, for a tRNA to be imported into the mitochondrion of T. brucei, it needs to bind eEF1a, and it is this interaction that mediates the import specificity.
Project description:tRNAs are unique among various RNAs in that they shuttle between the nucleus and the cytoplasm, and their localization is regulated by nutrient conditions. Although nuclear export of tRNAs has been well documented, the import machinery is poorly understood. Here, we identified Ssa2p, a major cytoplasmic Hsp70 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as a tRNA-binding protein whose deletion compromises nuclear accumulation of tRNAs upon nutrient starvation. Ssa2p recognizes several structural features of tRNAs through its nucleotide-binding domain, but prefers loosely-folded tRNAs, suggesting that Ssa2p has a chaperone-like activity for RNAs. Ssa2p also binds Nup116, one of the yeast nucleoporins. Sis1p and Ydj1p, cytoplasmic co-chaperones for Ssa proteins, were also found to contribute to the tRNA import. These results unveil a novel function of the Ssa2p system as a tRNA carrier for nuclear import by a novel mode of substrate recognition. Such Ssa2p-mediated tRNA import likely contributes to quality control of cytosolic tRNAs.
Project description:The tRNA isopentenyltransferases (IPTases), which add an isopentenyl group to N6 of A37 (i6A37) of certain tRNAs, are among a minority of enzymes that modify cytosolic and mitochondrial tRNAs. Pathogenic mutations to the human IPTase, TRIT1, that decrease i6A37 levels, cause mitochondrial insufficiency that leads to neurodevelopmental disease. We show that TRIT1 encodes an amino-terminal mitochondrial targeting sequence (MTS) that directs mitochondrial import and modification of mitochondrial-tRNAs. Full understanding of IPTase function must consider the tRNAs selected for modification, which vary among species, and in their cytosol and mitochondria. Selection is principally via recognition of the tRNA A36-A37-A38 sequence. An exception is unmodified tRNATrpCCA-A37-A38 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, whereas tRNATrpCCA is readily modified in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, indicating variable IPTase recognition systems and suggesting that additional exceptions may account for some of the tRNA-i6A37 paucity in higher eukaryotes. Yet TRIT1 had not been characterized for restrictive type substrate-specific recognition. We used i6A37-dependent tRNA-mediated suppression and i6A37-sensitive northern blotting to examine IPTase activities in S. pombe and S. cerevisiae lacking endogenous IPTases on a diversity of tRNA-A36-A37-A38 substrates. Point mutations to the TRIT1 MTS that decrease human mitochondrial import, decrease modification of mitochondrial but not cytosolic tRNAs in both yeasts. TRIT1 exhibits clear substrate-specific restriction against a cytosolic-tRNATrpCCA-A37-A38. Additional data suggest that position 32 of tRNATrpCCA is a conditional determinant for substrate-specific i6A37 modification by the restrictive IPTases, Mod5 and TRIT1. The cumulative biochemical and phylogenetic sequence analyses provide new insights into IPTase activities and determinants of tRNA-i6A37 profiles in cytosol and mitochondria.
Project description:The liverwort Marchantia polymorpha mitochondrial DNA encodes almost all tRNAs required for mitochondrial translation except for the isoleucine (AUU, AUC) and threonine (ACA, ACG) codons, while the missing tRNAs are supplied in part by the nucleus and imported in mitochondria. In this paper, we report a finding of two radically different nuclear tRNAVal(AAC) genes and import of the corresponding tRNA isoacceptors in M.polymorpha mitochondria. This finding is surprising since the mtDNA encodes the gene for tRNAVal(UAC), which alone was considered sufficient for translating all four valine codons GUN by the U/N wobble mechanism. The present results suggest for the first time that the import of ncDNA-encoded tRNAs may result in decoding overlaps in plant mitochondria. The coexistence of nuclear DNA-encoded tRNAVal(AAC) and mitochondrial DNA-encoded tRNAVal(UAC) in liverwort mitochondria and the significance for the decoding mechanism as well as evolution of tRNA import are discussed.