Abnormal Expression of Mitochondrial Ribosomal Proteins and Their Encoding Genes with Cell Apoptosis and Diseases

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 23;21(22):8879. doi: 10.3390/ijms21228879.


Mammalian mitochondrial ribosomes translate 13 proteins encoded by mitochondrial genes, all of which play roles in the mitochondrial respiratory chain. After a long period of reconstruction, mitochondrial ribosomes are the most protein-rich ribosomes. Mitochondrial ribosomal proteins (MRPs) are encoded by nuclear genes, synthesized in the cytoplasm and then, transported to the mitochondria to be assembled into mitochondrial ribosomes. MRPs not only play a role in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Moreover, they participate in the regulation of cell state as apoptosis inducing factors. Abnormal expressions of MRPs will lead to mitochondrial metabolism disorder, cell dysfunction, etc. Many researches have demonstrated the abnormal expression of MRPs in various tumors. This paper reviews the basic structure of mitochondrial ribosome, focuses on the structure and function of MRPs, and their relationships with cell apoptosis and diseases. It provides a reference for the study of the function of MRPs and the disease diagnosis and treatment.

Keywords: apoptosis; biomarker; cancer; mitochondrial disease; mitochondrial ribosomal proteins; mitochondrial ribosome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / genetics*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Ribosomes / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Ribosomes / pathology
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • Ribosomal Proteins / genetics*


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Ribosomal Proteins