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Mitochondrial translation initiation machinery: Conservation and diversification

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nikolay ZenkinORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The highly streamlined mitochondrial genome encodes almost exclusively a handful of transmembrane components of the respiratory chain complex. In order to ensure the correct assembly of the respiratory chain, the products of these genes must be produced in the correct stoichiometry and inserted into the membrane, posing a unique challenge to the mitochondrial translational system. In this review we describe the proteins orchestrating mitochondrial translation initiation: bacterial-like general initiation factors mIF2 and mIF3, as well as mitochondria-specific components – mRNA-specific translational activators and mRNA-nonspecific accessory initiation factors. We consider how the fast rate of evolution in these organelles has not only created a system that is divergent from that of its bacterial ancestors, but has led to a huge diversity in lineage specific mechanistic features of mitochondrial translation initiation among eukaryotes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kuzmenko A, Atkinson GC, Levitskii S, Zenkin N, Tenson T, Hauryliuk V, Kamenski P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biochimie

Year: 2013

Volume: 100

Pages: 132-140

Print publication date: 01/05/2014

Online publication date: 14/08/2013

Acceptance date: 29/07/2013

Date deposited: 24/03/2014

ISSN (print): 0300-9084

ISSN (electronic): 1638-6183

Publisher: Elsevier Masson


DOI: 10.1016/j.biochi.2013.07.024


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Funder referenceFunder name
European Regional Development Fund through the Centre of Excellence in Chemical Biology
Russian Foundation for Basic Research
UK Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council
Archimedes Foundation
International Associated Laboratory
Russian Ministry of Education and Science
Swedish Research council and timed University
ERC-2007-StG 202994-MTPEuropean Research Council
ETF9012Estonian Science Foundation
ETF9020Estonian Science Foundation
MJD99European Social Fund
PUT37Estonian Science Foundation
BB/J006378/1Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)