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Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Aug;39(14):e96. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr380. Epub 2011 May 19.

A protein shuttle system to target RNA into mitochondria.

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Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes, UPR 2357-CNRS, Université de Strasbourg, 12 rue du Général Zimmer, F-67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France.


Mitochondria play a key role in essential cellular functions. A deeper understanding of mitochondrial molecular processes is hampered by the difficulty of incorporating foreign nucleic acids into organelles. Mitochondria of most eukaryotic species import cytosolic tRNAs. Based on this natural process, we describe here a powerful shuttle system to internalize several types of RNAs into isolated mitochondria. We demonstrate that this tool is useful to investigate tRNA processing or mRNA editing in plant mitochondria. Furthermore, we show that the same strategy can be used to address both tRNA and mRNA to isolated mammalian mitochondria. We anticipate our novel approach to be the starting point for various studies on mitochondrial processes. Finally, our study provides new insights into the mechanism of RNA import into mitochondria.

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