Researchers uncover mechanism of protein transport in mitochondria

phys.org | 2/7/2019 | Staff
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The research labs of Dr. Thomas Becker and Dr. Nikolaus Pfanner from the Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Freiburg have reported a function of the metabolite channel of the mitochondrial outer membrane in protein transport. The researchers published their findings in Molecular Cell.

Mitochondria play a fundamental role for the metabolism of the cell. They produce the main energy for cellular functions and are therefore known as the powerhouse of the cell. Defects in mitochondrial metabolism cause a number of severe diseases of the heart, muscle or nerve systems. Mitochondrial function depends on the exchange of metabolites with the surrounding cell. Therefore, metabolites have to be transported across the two surrounding membranes. The voltage-dependent anion channel porin/VDAC allows transfer of metabolites across the outer membrane. The inner membrane is equipped with specific transporters, the carrier proteins, which transport metabolites across the inner membrane.

Mitochondria - Import - Types - Protein - Cytosol

Mitochondria further depend on the import of about 1,000 types of protein from the cytosol. The translocase of the outer membrane, also termed TOM complex, forms the entry gate for the precursor proteins. The import of carrier proteins is particularly important for mitochondrial metabolism. Carrier precursors pass the outer membrane via the TOM channel. Subsequently, helper proteins, the small TIM...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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