The tRNA splicing endonuclease (Sen) complex is located on the mitochondrial outer membrane and splices precursor tRNAs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here, we demonstrate that the Sen complex cleaves the mitochondria-localized mRNA encoding Cbp1 (cytochrome b mRNA processing 1). Endonucleolytic cleavage of this mRNA required two cis-elements: the mitochondrial targeting signal and the stem-loop 652-726-nt region. Mitochondrial localization of the Sen complex was required for cleavage of the CBP1 mRNA, and the Sen complex cleaved this mRNA directly in vitro. We propose that the Sen complex cleaves the CBP1 mRNA, which is co-translationally localized to mitochondria via its mitochondrial targeting signal.
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