Intersection of RNA processing and the type II fatty acid synthesis pathway in yeast mitochondria

Melissa S. Schonauer, Alexander J. Kastaniotis, J. Kalervo Hiltunen, Carol L. Dieckmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Distinct metabolic pathways can intersect in ways that allow hierarchical or reciprocal regulation. In a screen of respiration-deficient Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene deletion strains for defects in mitochondrial RNA processing, we found that lack of any enzyme in the mitochondrial fatty acid type II biosynthetic pathway (FAS II) led to inefficient 5′ processing of mitochondrial precursor tRNAs by RNase P. In particular, the precursor containing both RNase P RNA (RPM1) and tRNAPro accumulated dramatically. Subsequent Pet127-driven 5′ processing of RPM1 was blocked. The FAS II pathway defects resulted in the loss of lipoic acid attachment to subunits of three key mitochondrial enzymes, which suggests that the octanoic acid produced by the pathway is the sole precursor for lipoic acid synthesis and attachment. The protein component of yeast mitochondrial RNase P, Rpm2, is not modified by lipoic acid in the wild-type strain, and it is imported in FAS II mutant strains. Thus, a product of the FAS II pathway is required for RNase P RNA maturation, which positively affects RNase P activity. In addition, a product is required for lipoic acid production, which is needed for the activity of pyruvate dehydrogenase, which feeds acetyl-coenzyme A into the FAS II pathway. These two positive feedback cycles may provide switch-like control of mitochondrial gene expression in response to the metabolic state of the cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6646-6657
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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