A cartoon illustrating the components studied here (drawn roughly to scale) that lie within the sphere of influence of mtDNA. (A) A cluster of approximately eight mitochondrial genomes (see Table 1; only three are shown) are tethered through the mitochondrial membranes (see Figure 2) to kinesin and cytoplasmic microtubular network (see Figure 3); tethering restricts motion (see Figure 4), but the molecular mechanism is unknown. A cluster is usually found in a thin part of the mitochondrion poor in YFP-cytochrome oxidase (Figure 1G), and mitochondria generally split near Drp1 foci lying ~300 nm away (Figure 5). (B) A high-power view of a region in (A). Nascent mtRNA is translated cotranscriptionally by mitochondrial ribosomes bound both to the polymerase  and the inner mitochondrial membrane ; completed mRNAs (not shown) are also translated during most of their lifetime in this region (Figure 7J). The cytoplasmic translation machinery that makes nuclear-encoded proteins destined for the mitochondrion – marked by a ribosomal protein (S6) and a chaperone (NAC) – lie immediately on the other side of the mitochondrial membrane (Figure 8A,8B,8C,8D,8E,8F,8G,8H). Here, a cytoplasmic peptide is being made and imported through the translocases in the outer and inner membranes (TOM and TIM; TOM is marked by Tom22; Figure 8I,8J,8K,8L) where it will assemble with a mitochondrial-encoded peptide in the inner mitochondrial membrane. The close proximity of the two sets of machinery on each side of the membranes ensures efficient assembly of mitochondrial complexes containing proteins encoded by nuclear and mitochondrial genomes.
Iborra et al. BMC Biology 2004 2:9 doi:10.1186/1741-7007-2-9