Human Cells Require Non-stop Ribosome Rescue Activity in Mitochondria

Heather A. Feaga, Michael D. Quickel, Pamela A. Hankey-Giblin, Kenneth C. Keiler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Bacteria use trans-translation and the alternative rescue factors ArfA (P36675) and ArfB (Q9A8Y3) to hydrolyze peptidyl-tRNA on ribosomes that stall near the 3' end of an mRNA during protein synthesis. The eukaryotic protein ICT1 (Q14197) is homologous to ArfB. In vitro ribosome rescue assays of human ICT1 and Caulobacter crescentus ArfB showed that these proteins have the same activity and substrate specificity. Both ArfB and ICT1 hydrolyze peptidyl-tRNA on nonstop ribosomes or ribosomes stalled with ≤6 nucleotides extending past the A site, but are unable to hydrolyze peptidyl-tRNA when the mRNA extends ≥14 nucleotides past the A site. ICT1 provided sufficient ribosome rescue activity to support viability in C. crescentus cells that lacked both trans-translation and ArfB. Likewise, expression of ArfB protected human cells from death when ICT1 was silenced with siRNA. These data indicate that ArfB and ICT1 are functionally interchangeable, and demonstrate that ICT1 is a ribosome rescue factor. Because ICT1 is essential in human cells, these results suggest that ribosome rescue activity in mitochondria is required in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1005964
JournalPLoS genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cancer Research


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