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Mol Biol Cell. 2001 Sep;12(9):2688-98.

Evidence for import of a lysyl-tRNA into marsupial mitochondria.

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Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, D-04105 Leipzig, Germany.


The mitochondrial tRNA gene for lysine was analyzed in 11 different marsupial mammals. Whereas its location is conserved when compared with other vertebrate mitochondrial genomes, its primary sequence and inferred secondary structure are highly unusual and variable. For example, eight species lack the expected anticodon. Because the corresponding transcripts are not altered by any RNA-editing mechanism, the lysyl-tRNA gene seems to represent a mitochondrial pseudogene. Purification of marsupial mitochondria and in vitro aminoacylation of isolated tRNAs with lysine, followed by analysis of aminoacylated tRNAs, show that a nuclear-encoded tRNA(Lys) is associated with marsupial mitochondria. We conclude that a functional tRNA(Lys) encoded in the nuclear genome is imported into mitochondria in marsupials. Thus, tRNA import is not restricted to plant, yeast, and protozoan mitochondria but also occurs also in mammals.

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