Effect of deletions within the leader peptide of pre-ornithine transcarbamylase on mitochondrial import Academic Article uri icon


  • The uptake of the cytoplasmically synthesized mammalian enzyme, ornithine transcarbamylase, into mitochondria is directed by an N-terminal peptide of 32 amino acids. We have investigated some of the structural requirements for the import of the enzyme from rat liver into isolated mitochondria and into mitochondria of COS cells transfected with cDNA encoding the precursor form of ornithine transcarbamylase. Deletion of 21 amino acids from the N terminus of the leader peptide blocked the import of the precursor; deletion of 5 amino acids at positions 15-19 from the N terminus of the leader peptide had no deleterious effect on the import of the enzyme, nor on the processing and assembly of subunits in mitochondria. The region deleted contained three of eight basic residues in the leader peptide suggesting that specific structural elements containing basic residues, rather than the general basic nature of the leader, may be involved in mitochondrial import.

publication date

  • November 1986