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Biochem J. 2010 Sep 15;430(3):551-8. doi: 10.1042/BJ20100757.

Human ERAL1 is a mitochondrial RNA chaperone involved in the assembly of the 28S small mitochondrial ribosomal subunit.

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1
Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, UK.

Abstract

The bacterial Ras-like protein Era has been reported previously to bind 16S rRNA within the 30S ribosomal subunit and to play a crucial role in ribosome assembly. An orthologue of this essential GTPase ERAL1 (Era G-protein-like 1) exists in higher eukaryotes and although its exact molecular function and cellular localization is unknown, its absence has been linked to apoptosis. In the present study we show that human ERAL1 is a mitochondrial protein important for the formation of the 28S small mitoribosomal subunit. We also show that ERAL1 binds in vivo to the rRNA component of the small subunit [12S mt (mitochondrial)-rRNA]. Bacterial Era associates with a 3' unstructured nonanucleotide immediately downstream of the terminal stem-loop (helix 45) of 16S rRNA. This site contains an AUCA sequence highly conserved across all domains of life, immediately upstream of the anti-Shine-Dalgarno sequence, which is conserved in bacteria. Strikingly, this entire region is absent from 12S mt-rRNA. We have mapped the ERAL1-binding site to a 33 nucleotide section delineating the 3' terminal stem-loop region of 12S mt-rRNA. This loop contains two adenine residues that are reported to be dimethylated on mitoribosome maturation. Furthermore, and also in contrast with the bacterial orthologue, loss of ERAL1 leads to rapid decay of nascent 12S mt-rRNA, consistent with a role as a mitochondrial RNA chaperone. Finally, whereas depletion of ERAL1 leads to apoptosis, cell death occurs prior to any appreciable loss of mitochondrial protein synthesis or reduction in the stability of mitochondrial mRNA.

PMID:
20604745
PMCID:
PMC2995420
DOI:
10.1042/BJ20100757
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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