Hum Mol Genet 2016 Mar 31;25(5):903-15. Epub 2015 Dec 31.
Department of Radiology, Oncology and Pathology, Pasteur Institute-Cenci Bolognetti Foundation, Rome 00161, Italy,
Mutations in mitochondrial (mt) genes coding for mt-tRNAs are responsible for a range of syndromes, for which no effective treatment is available. We recently showed that the carboxy-terminal domain (Cterm) of human mt-leucyl tRNA synthetase rescues the pathologic phenotype associated either with the m.3243A>G mutation in mt-tRNA(Leu(UUR)) or with mutations in the mt-tRNA(Ile), both of which are aminoacylated by Class I mt-aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (mt-aaRSs). Here we show, by using the human transmitochondrial cybrid model, that the Cterm is also able to improve the phenotype caused by the m.8344A>G mutation in mt-tRNA(Lys), aminoacylated by a Class II aaRS. Importantly, we demonstrate that the same rescuing ability is retained by two Cterm-derived short peptides, β30_31 and β32_33, which are effective towards both the m.8344A>G and the m.3243A>G mutations. Furthermore, we provide in vitro evidence that these peptides bind with high affinity wild-type and mutant human mt-tRNA(Leu(UUR)) and mt-tRNA(Lys), and stabilize mutant mt-tRNA(Leu(UUR)). In conclusion, we demonstrate that small Cterm-derived peptides can be effective tools to rescue cellular defects caused by mutations in a wide range of mt-tRNAs.