Mammalian mitochondria have their own dedicated protein synthesis system, which produces 13 essential subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation complexes. We have reconstituted an in vitro translation system from mammalian mitochondria, utilizing purified recombinant mitochondrial translation factors, 55S ribosomes from pig liver mitochondria, and a tRNA mixture from either Escherichia coli or yeast. The system is capable of translating leaderless mRNAs encoding model proteins (DHFR and nanoLuciferase) or some mtDNA-encoded proteins. We show that a leaderless mRNA, encoding nanoLuciferase, is faithfully initiated without the need for any auxiliary factors other than IF-2mt and IF-3mt. We found that the ribosome-dependent GTPase activities of both the translocase EF-G1mt and the recycling factor EF-G2mt are insensitive to fusidic acid (FA), the translation inhibitor that targets bacterial EF-G homologs, and consequently the system is resistant to FA. Moreover, we demonstrate that a polyproline sequence in the protein causes 55S mitochondrial ribosome stalling, yielding ribosome nascent chain complexes. Analyses of the effects of the Mg concentration on the polyproline-mediated ribosome stalling suggested the unique regulation of peptide elongation by the mitoribosome. This system will be useful for analyzing the mechanism of translation initiation, and the interactions between the nascent peptide chain and the mitochondrial ribosome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas