University of Oulu

Geoffray Monteuuis, Anna Miścicka, Michał Świrski, Lounis Zenad, Olli Niemitalo, Lidia Wrobel, Jahangir Alam, Agnieszka Chacinska, Alexander J Kastaniotis, Joanna Kufel, Non-canonical translation initiation in yeast generates a cryptic pool of mitochondrial proteins, Nucleic Acids Research, Volume 47, Issue 11, 20 June 2019, Pages 5777–5791,

Non-canonical translation initiation in yeast generates a cryptic pool of mitochondrial proteins

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Author: Monteuuis, Geoffray1; Miścicka, Anna2; Świrski, Michał2;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5400, FIN-90014 Finland
2Institute of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, 02-106 Warsaw, Poland
3International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, 02-109 Warsaw, Poland
4Centre of New Technologies, University of Warsaw, 02-097 Warsaw, Poland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oxford University Press, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-10-10


Utilization of non-AUG alternative translation start sites is most common in bacteria and viruses, but it has been also reported in other organisms. This phenomenon increases proteome complexity by allowing expression of multiple protein isoforms from a single gene. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a few described cases concern proteins that are translated from upstream near-cognate start codons as N-terminally extended variants that localize to mitochondria. Using bioinformatics tools, we provide compelling evidence that in yeast the potential for producing alternative protein isoforms by non-AUG translation initiation is much more prevalent than previously anticipated and may apply to as many as a few thousand proteins. Several hundreds of candidates are predicted to gain a mitochondrial targeting signal (MTS), generating an unrecognized pool of mitochondrial proteins. We confirmed mitochondrial localization of a subset of proteins previously not identified as mitochondrial, whose standard forms do not carry an MTS. Our data highlight the potential of non-canonical translation initiation in expanding the capacity of the mitochondrial proteome and possibly also other cellular features.

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Series: Nucleic acids research
ISSN: 0305-1048
ISSN-E: 1362-4962
ISSN-L: 0305-1048
Volume: 47
Issue: 11
Pages: 5777 - 5791
DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkz301
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
Funding: Polish-Swiss Research Programme [PSPB-183/2010]; Foundation for Polish Science co-financed by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund [TEAM POIR.04.04.00-00-5C33/17-00 to J.K.]; Academy of Finland, Sigrid Juselius Foundation and AFM-Téléthon grants and by Biocenter Oulu (to A.J.K.). Experiments were carried out with the use of CePT infrastructure financed by the European Union – the European Regional Development Fund (Innovative economy 2007–2013 [POIG.02.02.00-14-024/08-00]. Funding for open access charge. Foundation for Polish Science [TEAM POIR.04.04.00-00-5C33/17-00].
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact