Why mitochondria need a genome

FEBS Lett. 1986 Mar 17;198(1):1-4. doi: 10.1016/0014-5793(86)81172-3.


The evolution of the mitochondrial genome towards the compact organization found in the higher eukaryotes is discussed. It is suggested that the machinery for co-translational protein export across the endoplasmic reticulum membrane sets strict limits on the kinds of protein-coding genes that can be successfully transferred from the mitochondrial to the nuclear genome. This hypothesis is in perfect agreement with the pattern of mitochondrially vs nuclearly encoded mitochondrial proteins found in species such as man, mouse, and Xenopus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Genes*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Mitochondria / analysis*
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Xenopus
  • Yeasts / genetics


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Proteins