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Cell Metab. 2013 Mar 5;17(3):386-98. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2013.02.006.

The mitochondrial RNA-binding protein GRSF1 localizes to RNA granules and is required for posttranscriptional mitochondrial gene expression.

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Montreal Neurological Institute and Department of Human Genetics, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 2B4, Canada.


RNA-binding proteins are at the heart of posttranscriptional gene regulation, coordinating the processing, storage, and handling of cellular RNAs. We show here that GRSF1, previously implicated in the binding and selective translation of influenza mRNAs, is targeted to mitochondria where it forms granules that colocalize with foci of newly synthesized mtRNA next to mitochondrial nucleoids. GRSF1 preferentially binds RNAs transcribed from three contiguous genes on the light strand of mtDNA, the ND6 mRNA, and the long noncoding RNAs for cytb and ND5, each of which contains multiple consensus binding sequences. RNAi-mediated knockdown of GRSF1 leads to alterations in mitochondrial RNA stability, abnormal loading of mRNAs and lncRNAs on the mitochondrial ribosome, and impaired ribosome assembly. This results in a specific protein synthesis defect and a failure to assemble normal amounts of the oxidative phosphorylation complexes. These data implicate GRSF1 as a key regulator of posttranscriptional mitochondrial gene expression.

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