Maturation of selected human mitochondrial tRNAs requires deadenylation

26 Sep 2017

Human mitochondria contain a genome (mtDNA) that encodes essential subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation system. Expression of mtDNA entails multi-step maturation of precursor RNA. In other systems, the RNA life cycle involves surveillance mechanisms, however, the details of RNA quality control have not been extensively characterised in human mitochondria. Using a mitochondrial ribosome profiling and mitochondrial poly(A)-tail RNA sequencing (MPAT-Seq) assay, we identify the poly(A)-specific exoribonuclease PDE12 as a major factor for the quality control of mitochondrial non-coding RNAs. The lack of PDE12 results in a spurious polyadenylation of the 3' ends of the mitochondrial (mt-) rRNA and mt-tRNA. While the aberrant adenylation of 16S mt-rRNA did not affect the integrity of the mitoribosome, spurious poly(A) additions to mt-tRNA led to reduced levels of aminoacylated pool of certain mt-tRNAs and mitoribosome stalling at the corresponding codons. Therefore, our data uncover a new, deadenylation-dependent mtRNA maturation pathway in human mitochondria.