, Volume 215, Issue 3, pp 517-528

Novel class of nuclear genes involved in both mRNA splicing and protein synthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitochondria

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We have cloned three distinct nuclear genes, NAM1, NAM7, and NAM8, which alleviate mitochondrial intron mutations of the cytochrome b and COXI (subunit I of cytochrome oxidase) genes when present on multicopy plasmids. These nuclear genes show no sequence homology to each other and are localized on different chromosomes: NAM1 on chromosome IV, NAM7 on chromosome XIII and NAM8 on chromosome VIII. Sequence analysis of the NAM1 gene shows that it encodes a protein of 440 amino acids with a typical presequence that would target the protein to the mitochondrial matrix. Inactivation of the NAM1 gene by gene transplacement leads to a dramatic reduction of the overall synthesis of mitochondrial protein, and a complete absence of the COXI protein which is the result of a specific block in COXI pre-mRNA splicing. The possible mechanisms by which the NAM1 gene product may function are discussed.