, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 1-6

Characterization of the mouse genes for mitochondrial transcription factors B1 and B2

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We have recently fully reconstituted the basal human mitochondrial transcription machinery in a pure in vitro system. Surprisingly, we found two different transcription factors (TFB1M and TFB2M) that each interact with mitochondrial RNA polymerase in human mitochondria, whereas there is only one such factor in budding yeast mitochondria. This unexpected finding raised important questions concerning the regulation of mitochondrial transcription in mammals in general and in other metazoans. We have now further analyzed putative homologs to TFB1M and TFB2M in different species. We mapped the mouse homologs, Tfb1m and Tfb2m, by linkage analysis to mouse Chr 17 and Chr 1, respectively. These regions display conserved linkage synteny with human Chr 6 and Chr 1, where TFB1M and TFB2M map. The intron-exon arrangements of Tfb1m and TFB1M and of Tfb2m and TFB2M were identical, and the promoter regions had similar predicted recognition elements for transcriptional factors NRF2 and Sp1. Northern blot analyses showed that Tfb1m and Tfb2m were ubiquitously expressed and had expression patterns that were very similar to the previously reported expression patterns for TFB1M and TFB2M. These findings show that Tfb1m and Tfb2m indeed are orthologs to TFB1M and TFB2M. Bioinformatic analyses indicated that most metazoans have two TFBM genes, since putative homologs to both TFB1M and TFB2M were found in D. melanogaster. Our data thus suggest that a duplication event of the TFBM gene in early metazoan evolution has permitted a more flexible regulation of mtDNA transcription, possibly in response to the complex physiological demands of multicellular organisms.