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REVIEW: Import of Proteins and Nucleic Acids into Mitochondria

N. A. Verechshagina1, Yu. M. Konstantinov2,3,a*, P. A. Kamenski1,4,b*, and I. O. Mazunin1,c*

1Institute of Living Systems, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, 236038 Kaliningrad, Russia

2Siberian Institute of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 664033 Irkutsk, Russia

3Irkutsk State University, 664003 Irkutsk, Russia

4Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Biology, Molecular Biology Department, 119991 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received December 3, 2017; Revision received February 12, 2018
Many mitochondrial genes have been transferred to the nucleus in course of evolution. The products of expression of these genes, being still necessary for organelle function, are imported there from the cytosol. Molecular mechanisms of protein import are studied much deeper than those of nucleic acids. The latter, it seems to us, retards the development of mitochondrial genome editing technologies. In this review, we describe mechanisms of DNA, RNA, and protein import into mitochondria of different eukaryotes. The description is given for the natural processes, as well as for artificial targeting of macromolecules into mitochondria for therapy. Also, we discuss different approaches to introduce changes into the mitochondrial DNA sequence.
KEY WORDS: mitochondria, import, proteins, nucleic acids, mtDNA editing

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297918060032