Length variation in the mouse mitochondrial tRNA(Arg) DHU loop size promotes oxidative phosphorylation functional differences

FEBS J. 2013 Oct;280(20):4983-98. doi: 10.1111/febs.12466. Epub 2013 Sep 2.


The efficiency of the cellular oxidative phosphorylation system was recently shown to be modulated by common mitochondrial tRNA(A) (rg) haplotypes. The molecular mechanism by which some mt-Tr haplotypes induce these functional differences remains undetermined. Common polymorphisms in mouse mt-Tr genes affect the size of the dihydrouridine loop in the mature tRNA, producing loops of between five and seven nucleotides, the largest being a rare variant among mammals. Here, we analyzed a new mt-Tr variant identified in C3H mice, and found that it is mitochondrial tRNA loop size, but not the specific sequence, that is responsible for the observed differences in cellular respiration. We further found that the sensitivity of mitochondrial protein synthesis to specific inhibitors is dependent on the mt-Tr gene haplotype, and confirmed that the differences in oxidative phosphorylation performance are masked by a reactive oxygen species-induced compensatory increase in mitochondrial biogenesis.

Keywords: OXPHOS; mitochondria; mitochondrial haplotypes; mouse; tRNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Galactose / metabolism
  • Haplotypes
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • RNA / chemistry
  • RNA / genetics*
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA, Transfer, Arg / chemistry
  • RNA, Transfer, Arg / genetics*
  • RNA, Transfer, Arg / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • RNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA, Transfer, Arg
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • RNA
  • Galactose