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Genetics. 2002 Jan;160(1):75-82.

Sls1p is a membrane-bound regulator of transcription-coupled processes involved in Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitochondrial gene expression.

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Department of Biochemistry, Rollins Research Center, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Mitochondrial translation is largely membrane-associated in S. cerevisiae. Recently, we discovered that the matrix protein Nam1p binds the amino-terminal domain of yeast mtRNA polymerase to couple translation and/or RNA-processing events to transcription. To gain additional insight into these transcription-coupled processes, we performed a genetic screen for genes that suppress the petite phenotype of a point mutation in mtRNA polymerase (rpo41-R129D) when overexpressed. One suppressor identified in this screen was SLS1, which encodes a mitochondrial membrane protein required for assembly of respiratory-chain enzyme complexes III and IV. The mtRNA-processing defects associated with the rpo41-R129D mutation were corrected in the suppressed strain, linking Sls1p to a pathway that includes mtRNA polymerase and Nam1p. This was supported by the observation that SLS1 overexpression rescued the petite phenotype of a NAM1 null mutation. In contrast, overexpression of Nam1p did not rescue the petite phenotype of a SLS1 null mutation, indicating that Nam1p and Sls1p are not functionally redundant but rather exist in an ordered pathway. On the basis of these data, a model in which Nam1p coordinates the delivery of newly synthesized transcripts to the membrane, where Sls1p directs or regulates their subsequent handling by membrane-bound factors involved in translation, is proposed.

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