Interaction of bovine mitochondrial ribosomes with messenger RNA.
The gene for subunit II of cytochrome oxidase (CoII) from bovine mitochondria has been cloned behind a T7 promoter and the corresponding mRNA synthesized in vitro. The RNA transcribed from this vector has a single nucleotide 5' to the start AUG and, thus, corresponds closely to the native mRNA. It binds to the small 28 S ribosomal subunit of bovine mitochondria but not to the large (39 S) subunit or to 55 S ribosomes. The binding occurs readily in the absence of auxiliary initiation factors or initiator tRNA. The complex formed appears to contain 1 mRNA/28 S subunit. The observed binding is specific for mRNA since neither tRNA nor ribosomal RNA can act as competitive inhibitors. The interaction of the mRNA with the 28 S subunit does not require an AUG codon near the 5' end and constructs containing 5' leaders of more than 100 nucleotides still bind efficiently. About 5% of the bound mRNA is protected from digestion by T1 RNase. The protected fragments do not arise from a specific region of the mRNA since they hybridize to several restriction fragments of the cloned CoII gene.
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