Biogenesis of mitochondria 51 Academic Article uri icon


  • An examination of the effect of the aminoglycoside antibiotics paromomycin and neomycin on mitochondrial ribosome function in yeast has been made. Both antibiotics are potent inhibitors of protein synthesis in isolated mitochondria. With isolated mitochondrial ribosomes programmed with polyuridylic acid (poly U), the drugs are shown to inhibit polyphenylalanine synthesis at moderately high concentrations (above 100 microgram/ml). At lower concentrations (about 10 microgram/ml), paromomycin and neomycin cause a 2-3 fold stimulation in the extent of misreading of the UUU codons in poly U, over and above the significant level of misreading catalyzed by the ribosomes in the absence of drugs. Comparative studies have been made between a paromomycin sensitive strain D585-11C and a mutant strain 4810P carrying the par l-r mutation in mtDNA, which leads to high resistance to both paromomycin and neomycin in vivo. A high level of resistance to these antibiotics is observed in strain 4810P at the level of mitochondrial protein synthesis in vitro. Whilst the degree of resistance of isolated mitochondrial ribosomes from strain 4810P judged by the inhibition of polyphenylalanine synthesis by paromomycin and neomycin is not extensive, studies on misreading of the poly U message promoted by these drugs demonstrate convincingly the altered properties of mitochondrial ribosomes from the mutant strain 4810P. These ribosomes show resistance to the stimulation of misreading of the codon UUU brought about by paromomycin and neomycin in wild-type mitochondrial ribosomes. Although strain 4810P was originally isolated as being resistant to paromomycin, in all the in vitro amino acid incorporation systems tested here, the 4810P mitochondrial ribosomes show a higher degree of resistance to neomycin than to paromomycin. It is concluded that the parl-r mutation in strain 4810P affects a component of the mitochondrial ribosome, possibly by altering the 15S rRNA or a protein of the small ribosomal subunit. The further elucidation of the functions in the ribosomes that are modified by the parl-r mutation was hampered by the inability of current preparations of yeast mitochondrial ribosomes to translate efficiently natural messenger RNAs from the several sources tested.

publication date

  • January 1979