When overexpressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, β-galactosidase fusion proteins directed to the mitochondria are toxic, preventing growth of yeast cells on non-fermentable carbon sources (Emr, S. D., Vassarotti, A., Garrett, J., Geller, B. L., Takeda, M., and Douglas, M. G. (1986) J. Cell Biol. 102, 523-533). We show that such fusion proteins interfere with the assembly of respiratory complexes in the mitochondrial inner membrane, without blocking protein translocation. The gene YME1, encoding an ATP-dependent metalloprotease of the mitochondrial inner membrane, acts as a suppressor of this defect; a 3-fold overexpression of Yme1p is sufficient to restore respiratory complex assembly and mitochondrial function. Detailed knowledge of the topology and effect of the toxic β-galactosidase fusion proteins will permit the identification and characterization of components that control protein sorting and protein assembly within the mitochondrial inner membrane.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology