by Sophie Kanga, Delphine Bernard, Anne-Marie Mager-Heckel, Zoi Erpapazoglou, Francesca Mattiroli, Titia K. Sixma, Sébastien Léon, Danièle Urban-Grimal, Ivan Tarassov, Rosine Haguenauer-Tsapis
The ubiquitin system is known to be involved in maintaining the integrity of mitochondria, but little is known about the role of deubiquitylating (DUB) enzymes in such functions. Budding yeast cells deleted for UBP13 and its close homolog UBP9 displayed a high incidence of petite colonies and slow respiratory growth at 37°C. Both Ubp9 and Ubp13 interacted directly with Duf1 (DUB-associated factor 1), a WD40 motif-containing protein. Duf1 activates the DUB activity of recombinant Ubp9 and Ubp13 in vitro and deletion of DUF1 resulted in the same respiratory phenotype as the deletion of both UBP9 and UBP13. We show that the mitochondrial defects of these mutants resulted from a strong decrease at 37°C in the de novo biosynthesis of Atp9, a membrane-bound component of ATP synthase encoded by mitochondrial DNA. The defect appears at the level of ATP9 mRNA translation, while its maturation remained unchanged in the mutants. This study describes a new role of the ubiquitin system in mitochondrial biogenesis.