Heterogeneous Efficiencies of mRNA Translation in Human Mitochondria

  • Anne Chomyn
  • Giuseppe Attardi


The recently completed elucidation of the informational content of the human mitochondrial genome (Chomyn et al., 1986), taken as a prototype of all mammalian mitochondrial genomes, has set the stage for an analysis of the mechanisms and regulation of gene expression in this system. The well established mode of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) transcription and RNA processing in mammalian mitochondria (Ojala et al., 1981), while admirable in its simplicity and economy, raises questions as concerns the mechanisms which control the differential expression of mitochondrial genes. In particular, one would like to know how the regulation of the steady state amounts of the different RNA species is achieved in a genome where both strands are transcribed in the form of polycistronic molecules comprising rRNA, mRNA and tRNA sequences (Fig. 1). Furthermore, one can ask whether, in addition to a control at the transcriptional and RNA processing levels, there is also a control at the translational level.


NADH Dehydrogenase Subunit Mammalian Mitochondrion Human Mitochondrion Human Mitochondrial Genome Oxidative Phosphorylation System 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Chomyn
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Attardi
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of BiologyCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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