Caenorhabditis elegans mitochondria have two elongation factor (EF)-Tu species, denoted EF-Tu1 and EF-Tu2. Recombinant nematode EF-Ts purified from Escherichia coli bound both of these molecules and also stimulated the translational activity of EF-Tu, indicating that the nematode EF-Ts homolog is a functional EF-Ts protein of mitochondria. Complexes formed by the interaction of nematode EF-Ts with EF-Tu1 and EF-Tu2 could be detected by native gel electrophoresis and purified by gel filtration. Although the nematode mitochondrial (mt) EF-Tu molecules are extremely unstable and easily form aggregates, native gel electrophoresis and gel filtration analysis revealed that EF-Tu·EF-Ts complexes are significantly more soluble. This indicates that nematode EF-Ts can be used to stabilize homologous EF-Tu molecules for experimental purposes. The EF-Ts bound to two eubacterial EF-Tu species (E.coli and Thermus thermophilus). Although the EF-Ts did not bind to bovine mt EF-Tu, it could bind to a chimeric nematode-bovine EF-Tu molecule containing domains 1 and 2 from bovine mt EF-Tu. Thus, the nematode EF-Ts appears to have a broad specificity for EF-Tu molecules from different species.
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