The mitochondrial genome encodes abundant small noncoding RNAs

Seungil Ro, Hsiu Yen Ma, Chanjae Park, Nicole Ortogero, Rui Song, Grant W. Hennig, Huili Zheng, Yung Ming Lin, Loredana Moro, Jer Tsong Hsieh, Wei Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Small noncoding RNAs identified thus far are all encoded by the nuclear genome. Here, we report that the murine and human mitochondrial genomes encode thousands of small noncoding RNAs, which are predominantly derived from the sense transcripts of the mitochondrial genes (host genes), and we termed these small RNAs mitochondrial genome-encoded small RNAs (mitosRNAs). DICER inactivation affected, but did not completely abolish mitosRNA production. MitosRNAs appear to be products of currently unidentified mitochondrial ribonucleases. Overexpression of mitosRNAs enhanced expression levels of their host genes in vitro, and dysregulated mitosRNA expression was generally associated with aberrant mitochondrial gene expression in vivo. Our data demonstrate that in addition to 37 known mitochondrial genes, the mammalian mitochondrial genome also encodes abundant mitosRNAs, which may play an important regulatory role in the control of mitochondrial gene expression in the cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-774
Number of pages16
JournalCell Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Circular genome
  • Gene expression
  • Mitochondria
  • RNA interference
  • Small noncoding RNAs
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The mitochondrial genome encodes abundant small noncoding RNAs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this