Our previous results [Kalnov, Novikova, Zubatov & Luzikov (1979) FEBS Lett. 101, 355-358; Biochem. J. 182, 195-202] suggested that in yeast the mitochondrial translation products localized in the mitochondrial inner membrane are rapidly broken down by a proteolytic system inherent in the membrane. In the present work, it is demonstrated that, on glucose repression in undividing cells of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, there is no proteolysis of the mitochondrial translation products. This effect is not likely to be associated with lower activity of the proteolytic system of the mitochondrial inner membrane. Nor is the cessation of proteolysis due to qualitative changes in the composition of mitochondrial translation products. What repression does cause is a considerable alteration in the physical state (i.e. structure of the lipid bilayer) of the mitochondrial inner membrane; this was established by experiments involving lipid-soluble spin probes. The conclusion is reached that the rate of proteolysis of mitochondrial translation products in the mitochondrial inner membrane depends on the physical state of the membrane, which in its turn is controlled by the relative content of unsaturated fatty acid chains in the mitochondrial phospholipids.

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