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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Jul 1;88(13):5592-6.

Splicing-defective mutants of the yeast mitochondrial COXI gene can be corrected by transformation with a hybrid maturase gene.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235-9038.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1991 Nov 1;88(21):9907.


We have developed a recombinant vector, termed pMIT, for transient expression of genes delivered to yeast mitochondria by biolistic transformation. Using that vector, we introduced a hybrid RNA maturase (splicing) gene into mitochondria of rho 0 petite cells and showed the gene to be functional in crosses. The hybrid maturase is an in-frame fusion between the N-terminal half of the maturase encoded by intron 1 of the COXI (cytochrome oxidase) gene and the C-terminal half of a similar maturase encoded by COXI intron 2. pMIT transformants can provide a functional maturase in crosses to restore respiration and COXI polypeptide synthesis to a respiratory-deficient strain defective in the synthesis of a maturase encoded by COXI intron 1; the transformant will also restore respiration to two splicing-defective cis mutants of COXI introns 1 and 3. We detect a 68-kDa polypeptide comparable in abundance to other major mitochondrial translation products as a likely product of the hybrid maturase gene. Transformants containing an internal 218-amino acid deletion mutation of the hybrid maturase gene no longer express a functional maturase in crosses and produce the expected shortened polypeptide of approximately 40 kDa; however, those transformants still restore respiration to the COXI cis mutants. These studies show the utility of the pMIT transformation system for the expression and reverse genetic analysis of yeast mitochondrial genes.

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