Researchers discover protein that shuttles RNA into cell mitochondria

Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine have uncovered a role for an essential cell protein in shuttling RNA into the mitochondria, the energy-producing "power plant" of the cell.The import of nucleus-encoded small RNAs into mitochondria is essential for the replication, transcription and translation of the mitochondrial genome, but the mechanisms that deliver RNA into mitochondria remain poorly understood.In the current study, UCLA scientists show a new role for a protein called polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPASE) in regulating the import of RNA into mitochondria. Reducing the expression of PNPASE decreased RNA import, which impaired the processing of mitochondrial genome-encoded RNAs. Reduced RNA processing inhibited the translation of proteins required to maintain the electron transport chain that handles oxygen to produce energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate, the energy currency of

"This discovery tells us that PNPASE regulates the energy producing function of mitochondria by mediating cytoplasmic RNA import," said Dr. Michael Teitell, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and co-senior author of the study.
"When we're talking about looking for ways to cure cancer, we fundamentally need to understand what makes cells grow and die and the mitochondrion is right at the heart of these issues," said Carla Koehler, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and co-senior author of the study.
"The cell would lose most of its ability to make energy," she said.

Researchers discover protein that shuttles RNA into cell mitochondria

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Protein that shuttles RNA into cell mitochondria discovered

Researchers have uncovered a role for an essential cell protein in shuttling RNA into the mitochondria, the energy-producing "power plant" of the cell.

Sat 7 Aug 10 from ScienceDaily

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