Mapping of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Oxa1-mitochondrial ribosome interface and identification of MrpL40, a ribosomal protein in close proximity to Oxa1 and critical for oxidative phosphorylation complex assembly.
The Oxa1 protein plays a central role in facilitating the cotranslational insertion of the nascent polypeptide chains into the mitochondrial inner membrane. Mitochondrially encoded proteins are synthesized on matrix-localized ribosomes which are tethered to the inner membrane and in physical association with the Oxa1 protein. In the present study we used a chemical cross-linking approach to map the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Oxa1-ribosome interface, and we demonstrate here a close association of Oxa1 and the large ribosomal subunit protein, MrpL40. Evidence to indicate that a close physical and functional relationship exists between MrpL40 and another large ribosomal protein, the Mrp20/L23 protein, is also provided. MrpL40 shares sequence features with the bacterial ribosomal protein L24, which like Mrp20/L23 is known to be located adjacent to the ribosomal polypeptide exit site. We propose therefore that MrpL40 represents the Saccharomyces cerevisiae L24 homolog. MrpL40, like many mitochondrial ribosomal proteins, contains a C-terminal extension region that bears no similarity to the bacterial counterpart. We show that this C-terminal mitochondria-specific region is important for MrpL40's ability to support the synthesis of the correct complement of mitochondrially encoded proteins and their subsequent assembly into oxidative phosphorylation complexes.