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Two-step processing of human frataxin by mitochondrial processing peptidase. Precursor and intermediate forms are cleaved at different rates.

Cavadini P., Adamec J., Taroni F., Gakh O., Isaya G.

We showed previously that maturation of the human frataxin precursor (p-fxn) involves two cleavages by the mitochondrial processing peptidase (MPP). This observation was not confirmed by another group, however, who reported only one cleavage. Here, we demonstrate conclusively that MPP cleaves p-fxn in two sequential steps, yielding a 18,826-Da intermediate (i-fxn) and a 17,255-Da mature (m-fxn) form, the latter corresponding to endogenous frataxin in human tissues. The two cleavages occur between residues 41-42 and 55-56, and both match the MPP consensus sequence RX downward arrow (X/S). Recombinant rat and yeast MPP catalyze the p --> i step 4 and 40 times faster, respectively, than the i --> m step. In isolated rat mitochondria, p-fxn undergoes a sequence of cleavages, p --> i --> m --> d(1) --> d(2), with d(1) and d(2) representing two C-terminal fragments of m-fxn produced by an unknown protease. The i --> m step is limiting, and the overall rate of p --> i --> m does not exceed the rate of m --> d(1) --> d(2), such that the levels of m-fxn do not change during incubations as long as 3 h. Inhibition of the i --> m step by a disease-causing frataxin mutation (W173G) leads to nonspecific degradation of i-fxn. Thus, the second of the two processing steps catalyzed by MPP limits the levels of mature frataxin within mitochondria.

J. Biol. Chem. 275:41469-41475(2000) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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