What is it about?

mRNA are used to make proteins, important nanoscale machines for living cells. Some mRNA for proteins in mitochondria can directly attach and deliver proteins to mitochondria. We have shown, using mathematical modeling, that the speed of protein production from mRNA and the speed that mRNA find mitochondria together control how much time mRNA will spend attached to mitochondria. Differences in protein production from mRNA can allow different mRNA types to attach more or less to mitochondria, while changes to mitochondrial size affect how quickly all mRNA will find mitochondria, allowing changes that affect the mitochondrial attachment of specific or all mRNA.

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Why is it important?

Cells need to put the right amounts of the right proteins in the right locations. Our work advances understanding of how cells can make adjustments to protein levels in mitochondria. Different genes can be tuned separately (through the speed of protein production from mRNA) and the cell can make adjustments to many mitochondrial proteins by adjusting the mitochondrial size.

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This page is a summary of: Mitochondrial mRNA localization is governed by translation kinetics and spatial transport, PLoS Computational Biology, August 2022, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1010413.
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