Send to

Choose Destination
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Sep-Oct;1819(9-10):1017-26. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2011.11.003. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

Of P and Z: mitochondrial tRNA processing enzymes.

Author information

Center for Anatomy & Cell Biology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.


Mitochondrial tRNAs are generally synthesized as part of polycistronic transcripts. Release of tRNAs from these precursors is thus not only required to produce functional adaptors for translation, but also responsible for the maturation of other mitochondrial RNA species. Cleavage of mitochondrial tRNAs appears to be exclusively accomplished by endonucleases. 5'-end maturation in the mitochondria of different Eukarya is achieved by various kinds of RNase P, representing the full range of diversity found in this enzyme family. While ribonucleoprotein enzymes with RNA components of bacterial-like appearance are found in a few unrelated protists, algae, and fungi, highly degenerate RNAs of dramatic size variability are found in the mitochondria of many fungi. The majority of mitochondrial RNase P enzymes, however, appear to be pure protein enzymes. Human mitochondrial RNase P, the first to be identified and possibly the prototype of all animal mitochondrial RNases P, is composed of three proteins. Homologs of its nuclease subunit MRPP3/PRORP, are also found in plants, algae and several protists, where they are apparently responsible for RNase P activity in mitochondria (and beyond) without the help of extra subunits. The diversity of RNase P enzymes is contrasted by the uniformity of mitochondrial RNases Z, which are responsible for 3'-end processing. Only the long form of RNase Z, which is restricted to eukarya, is found in mitochondria, even when an additional short form is present in the same organism. Mitochondrial tRNA processing thus appears dominated by new, eukaryal inventions rather than bacterial heritage. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Mitochondrial Gene Expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center