Long noncoding RNAs are generated from the mitochondrial genome and regulated by nuclear-encoded proteins

RNA. 2011 Dec;17(12):2085-93. doi: 10.1261/rna.029405.111. Epub 2011 Oct 25.


Human mitochondrial long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have not been described to date. By analysis of deep-sequencing data we have identified three lncRNAs generated from the mitochondrial genome and confirmed their expression by Northern blotting and strand-specific qRT-PCR. We show that the abundance of these lncRNAs is comparable to their complementary mRNAs and that nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins involved in RNA processing regulate their expression. We also identify the 5' and 3' transcript ends of the three lncRNAs and show that mitochondrial RNase P protein 1 (MRPP1) is important for the processing of these transcripts. Finally, we show that mitochondrial lncRNAs form intermolecular duplexes and that their abundance is cell- and tissue-specific, suggesting a functional role in the regulation of mitochondrial gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genome, Mitochondrial*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Organ Specificity / genetics
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism*
  • Ribonuclease P / genetics
  • Ribonuclease P / metabolism*


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • Ribonuclease P