Nuclear-encoded factors involved in post-transcriptional processing and modification of mitochondrial tRNAs in human disease.

TitleNuclear-encoded factors involved in post-transcriptional processing and modification of mitochondrial tRNAs in human disease.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsPowell, CA, Nicholls, TJ, Minczuk, M
JournalFront Genet
Date Published2015

The human mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) encodes 22 tRNAs (mt-tRNAs) that are necessary for the intraorganellar translation of the 13 mtDNA-encoded subunits of the mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes. Maturation of mt-tRNAs involves 5' and 3' nucleolytic excision from precursor RNAs, as well as extensive post-transcriptional modifications. Recent data suggest that over 7% of all mt-tRNA residues in mammals undergo post-transcriptional modification, with over 30 different modified mt-tRNA positions so far described. These processing and modification steps are necessary for proper mt-tRNA function, and are performed by dedicated, nuclear-encoded enzymes. Recent growing evidence suggests that mutations in these nuclear genes (nDNA), leading to incorrect maturation of mt-tRNAs, are a cause of human mitochondrial disease. Furthermore, mtDNA mutations in mt-tRNA genes, which may also affect mt-tRNA function, processing, and modification, are also frequently associated with human disease. In theory, all pathogenic mt-tRNA variants should be expected to affect only a single process, which is mitochondrial translation, albeit to various extents. However, the clinical manifestations of mitochondrial disorders linked to mutations in mt-tRNAs are extremely heterogeneous, ranging from defects of a single tissue to complex multisystem disorders. This review focuses on the current knowledge of nDNA coding for proteins involved in mt-tRNA maturation that have been linked to human mitochondrial pathologies. We further discuss the possibility that tissue specific regulation of mt-tRNA modifying enzymes could play an important role in the clinical heterogeneity observed for mitochondrial diseases caused by mutations in mt-tRNA genes.

Alternate JournalFront Genet
Citation Key10.3389/fgene.2015.00079
PubMed ID25806043
PubMed Central IDPMC4354410
Grant ListMC_U105697135 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom