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J Biol Chem. 1995 Nov 10;270(45):27366-73.

Prediction and identification of new natural substrates of the yeast mitochondrial intermediate peptidase.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.


Most mitochondrial precursor proteins are processed to the mature form in one step by mitochondrial processing peptidase (MPP), while a subset of precursors destined for the matrix or the inner membrane are cleaved sequentially by MPP and mitochondrial intermediate peptidase (MIP). We showed previously that yeast MIP (YMIP) is required for mitochondrial function in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To further define the role played by two-step processing in mitochondrial biogenesis, we have now characterized the natural substrates of YMIP. A total of 133 known yeast mitochondrial precursors were collected from the literature and analyzed for the presence of the motif RX(decreases)(F/L/I)XX(T/S/G)XXXX(decreases), typical of precursors cleaved by MPP and MIP. We found characteristic MIP cleavage sites in two distinct sets of proteins: respiratory components, including subunits of the electron transport chain and tricarboxylic acid cycle enzymes, and components of the mitochondrial genetic machinery, including ribosomal proteins, translation factors, and proteins required for mitochondrial DNA metabolism. Representative precursors from both sets were cleaved to predominantly mature form by mitochondrial matrix or intact mitochondria from wild-type yeast. In contrast, intermediate-size forms were accumulated upon incubation of the precursors with matrix from mip1 delta yeast or intact mitochondria from mip1ts yeast, indicating that YMIP is necessary for maturation of these proteins. Consistent with the fact that some of these substrates are essential for the maintenance of mitochondrial protein synthesis and mitochondrial DNA replication, mip1 delta yeast undergoes loss of functional mitochondrial genomes.

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