Abstract

The polypeptide encoded in URF6, the last unassigned reading frame of human mitochondrial DNA, has been identified with antibodies to peptides predicted from the DNA sequence. Antibodies prepared against highly purified respiratory chain NADH dehydrogenase from beef heart or against the cytoplasmically synthesized 49-kilodalton iron-sulfur subunit isolated from this enzyme complex, when added to a deoxycholate or a Triton X-100 mitochondrial lysate of HeLa cells, specifically precipitated the URF6 product together with the six other URF products previously identified as subunits of NADH dehydrogenase. These results strongly point to the URF6 product as being another subunit of this enzyme complex. Thus, almost 60% of the protein coding capacity of mammalian mitochondrial DNA is utilized for the assembly of the first enzyme complex of the respiratory chain. The absence of such information in yeast mitochondrial DNA dramatizes the variability in gene content of different mitochondrial genomes.

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