Mitochondrial tRNA import and its consequences for mitochondrial translation

Schneider, André (2011). Mitochondrial tRNA import and its consequences for mitochondrial translation. Annual review of biochemistry, 80(1), pp. 1033-1053. Palo Alto, Calif.: Annual Reviews Inc. 10.1146/annurev-biochem-060109-092838

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The mitochondrial genomes of most eukaryotes lack a variable number of tRNA genes. This lack is compensated for by import of a small fraction of the corresponding cytosolic tRNAs. There are two broad mechanisms for the import of tRNAs into mitochondria. In the first one, the tRNA is coimported together with a mitochondrial precursor protein along the protein import pathway. It applies to the yeast tRNA(Lys) and has been elucidated in great detail. In the second more vaguely defined mechanism, which is mainly found in plants and protozoa, tRNAs are directly imported independent of cytosolic factors. However, results in plants indicate that direct import of tRNAs may nevertheless require some components of the protein import machinery. All imported tRNAs in all systems are of the eukaryotic type but need to be functionally integrated into the mitochondrial translation system of bacterial descent. For some tRNAs, this is not trivial and requires unique evolutionary adaptations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Schneider, André




Annual Reviews Inc.




Christina Schüpbach

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:26

Last Modified:

11 Nov 2016 16:14

Publisher DOI:


Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 214984)

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