Dissolving a protein traffic jam at the entrance of mitochondria

phys.org | 2/7/2019 | Staff
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The research lab of the associate professor (Privatdozent) Dr. Thomas Becker at the University of Freiburg discovered a mechanism that solves blockades on the protein highway towards the powerhouse of the cell. The researchers published their findings in Nature.

Mitochondria produce the bulk of cellular energy and are therefore referred to as powerhouses of the cell. In order to fulfill their functions, mitochondria depend on the import of about 1.000 different proteins. These proteins are synthesized as precursors in the cytosol. Specific protein machineries, termed protein translocases, transport these precursor proteins across the two surrounding membranes of mitochondria. The translocase of the outer membrane, TOM complex, forms the entry gate for almost all precursor proteins. A small portion of the precursors proteins can be stalled in the translocation channel of the TOM complex and blocks the import of further proteins into mitochondria. Impaired protein translocation into mitochondria is deleterious for the cell and leads to a number of cellular stress responses. How the cell prevents an accumulation of such clogged TOM complex is unclear.

Researchers - Research - Training - Group - Transport

Researchers from the research training group 2202 "Transport Across and Into Membranes," and the cluster of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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