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Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 Sep 26;47(17):9386-9399. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz684.

C6orf203 is an RNA-binding protein involved in mitochondrial protein synthesis.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Division of Molecular Metabolism, Karolinska Institutet, Solnavägen 9, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
Max Planck Institute Biology of Ageing - Karolinska Institutet Laboratory, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, CB2 0QQ Cambridge, UK.
Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.
Proteomics Core Facility, Max-Planck-Institute for Biology of Ageing, Joseph-Stelzmann-Str. 9b, 50931 Cologne, Germany.


In all biological systems, RNAs are associated with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), forming complexes that control gene regulatory mechanisms, from RNA synthesis to decay. In mammalian mitochondria, post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression is conducted by mitochondrial RBPs (mt-RBPs) at various stages of mt-RNA metabolism, including polycistronic transcript production, its processing into individual transcripts, mt-RNA modifications, stability, translation and degradation. To date, only a handful of mt-RBPs have been characterized. Here, we describe a putative human mitochondrial protein, C6orf203, that contains an S4-like domain-an evolutionarily conserved RNA-binding domain previously identified in proteins involved in translation. Our data show C6orf203 to bind highly structured RNA in vitro and associate with the mitoribosomal large subunit in HEK293T cells. Knockout of C6orf203 leads to a decrease in mitochondrial translation and consequent OXPHOS deficiency, without affecting mitochondrial RNA levels. Although mitoribosome stability is not affected in C6orf203-depleted cells, mitoribosome profiling analysis revealed a global disruption of the association of mt-mRNAs with the mitoribosome, suggesting that C6orf203 may be required for the proper maturation and functioning of the mitoribosome. We therefore propose C6orf203 to be a novel RNA-binding protein involved in mitochondrial translation, expanding the repertoire of factors engaged in this process.

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