Reference: He S and Fox TD (1999) Mutations affecting a yeast mitochondrial inner membrane protein, pnt1p, block export of a mitochondrially synthesized fusion protein from the matrix. Mol Cell Biol 19(10):6598-607

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Abstract


The machinery that inserts mitochondrially encoded proteins into the inner membrane and translocates their hydrophilic domains through the membrane is poorly understood. We have developed a genetic screen for Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants defective in this export process. The screen is based on the fact that the hydrophilic polypeptide Arg8(m)p is exported from the matrix if it is synthesized within mitochondria as a bifunctional Cox2p-Arg8(m)p fusion protein. Since export of Arg8(m)p causes an Arg(-) phenotype, defective mutants can be selected as Arg(+). Here we show that mutations in the nuclear gene PNT1 block the translocation of mitochondrially encoded fusion proteins across the inner membrane. Pnt1p is a mitochondrial integral inner membrane protein that appears to have two hydrophilic domains in the matrix, flanking a central hydrophobic hairpin-like anchor. While an S. cerevisiae pnt1 deletion mutant was more sensitive to H(2)O(2) than the wild type was, it was respiration competent and able to export wild-type Cox2p. However, deletion of the PNT1 orthologue from Kluyveromyces lactis, KlPNT1, caused a clear nonrespiratory phenotype, absence of cytochrome oxidase activity, and a defect in the assembly of KlCox2p that appears to be due to a block of C-tail export. Since PNT1 was previously described as a gene affecting resistance to the antibiotic pentamidine, our data support a mitochondrial target for this drug.

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He S, Fox TD
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