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Mol Cell Biol. 2000 Oct;20(20):7784-97.

Mmf1p, a novel yeast mitochondrial protein conserved throughout evolution and involved in maintenance of the mitochondrial genome.

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  • 1Abteilung F0200, Angewandte Tumorvirologie, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


A novel protein family (p14.5, or YERO57c/YJGFc) highly conserved throughout evolution has recently been identified. The biological role of these proteins is not yet well characterized. Two members of the p14.5 family are present in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this study, we have characterized some of the biological functions of the two yeast proteins. Mmf1p is a mitochondrial matrix factor, and homologous Mmf1p factor (Hmf1p) copurifies with the soluble cytoplasmic fraction. Deltammf1 cells lose mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and have a decreased growth rate, while Deltahmf1 cells do not display any visible phenotype. Furthermore, we demonstrate by genetic analysis that Mmf1p does not play a direct role in replication and segregation of the mtDNA. rho(+) Deltammf1 haploid cells can be obtained when tetrads are directly dissected on medium containing a nonfermentable carbon source. Our data also indicate that Mmf1p and Hmf1p have similar biological functions in different subcellular compartments. Hmf1p, when fused with the Mmf1p leader peptide, is transported into mitochondria and is able to functionally replace Mmf1p. Moreover, we show that homologous mammalian proteins are functionally related to Mmf1p. Human p14.5 localizes in yeast mitochondria and rescues the Deltammf1-associated phenotypes. In addition, fractionation of rat liver mitochondria showed that rat p14.5, like Mmf1p, is a soluble protein of the matrix. Our study identifies a biological function for Mmf1p and furthermore indicates that this function is conserved between members of the p14.5 family.

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