Lost in translation. Dissecting the divergent features of Toxoplasma gondii mitochondrial translation and eliciting the structure of mitochondrial complexes
How do you run a conveyer belt production line when the belt is cut into pieces and the workers are in another room? Apicomplexans, the deadly parasites that cause toxoplasmosis and malaria, must face this challenge. The essential production of proteins in their mitochondrion must take place while utilising a mito-ribosome with fragmented rRNA and while having no locally encoded tRNAs.
We try to understand what specific adaptation parasites evolved to enable this critical and divergent function. I will present functional characterisation of components of the mitoribosome and of the mitochondrial tRNA import machinery.
We also try to solve the structure of the mitoribosome, and in the course of doing so, solve the atomic structure of the parasite mitochondrial ATP synthase using single particle cryoEM, which I will present.