Mitochondrial Targeting Sequences (MTSs) are responsible for trafficking nuclear-encoded proteins into mitochondria. Once entering the mitochondria, the MTS is recognized and cleaved off. Some MTSs are long and undergo two-step processing, as in the case of the human frataxin (FXN) protein (80aa), implicated in Friedreich's ataxia (FA). Therefore, we chose the FXN protein to examine whether nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins can efficiently be targeted via a heterologous MTS (hMTS) and deliver a functional protein into mitochondria. We examined three hMTSs; that of citrate synthase (cs), lipoamide deydrogenase (LAD) and C6ORF66 (ORF), as classically MTS sequences, known to be removed by one-step processing, to deliver FXN into mitochondria, in the form of fusion proteins.
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