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J Biol Chem. 1988 Jan 5;263(1):52-7.

The yeast VAS1 gene encodes both mitochondrial and cytoplasmic valyl-tRNA synthetases.

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Institut de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire, Laboratoire de Biochimie, Strasbourg, France.


S1 mapping on the VAS1 structural gene indicates the existence of two classes of transcripts initiating at distinct in-frame translation start codons. The longer class of VAS1 transcripts initiates upstream of both ATG codons located 138 base pairs away and the shorter class downstream of the first ATG. A mutation that destroys the first AUG on the long message results in respiratory deficiency but does not affect viability. Mutation of the ATG at position 139 leads to lethality because the initiating methionine codon of the essential cytoplasmic valyl-tRNA synthetase has been destroyed. N-terminal protein sequence data further confirm translation initiation at ATG-139 for the cytoplasmic valyl-tRNA synthetase. From these results, we conclude that the VAS1 single gene encodes both mitochondrial and cytoplasmic valyl-tRNA synthetases. The presequence of the mitochondrial valyl-tRNA synthetase shows amino acid composition but not the amphiphilic character of imported mitochondrial proteins. From mutagenesis of the ATG-139 we conclude that the presequence specifically targets the cytoplasmically synthesized mitochondrial valyl-tRNA synthetase to the mitochondrial outer membrane and prevents binding of the enzyme core to cytoplasmic tRNAVal.

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