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FEBS Lett. 2000 Jun 30;476(1-2):22-6.

Targeting of proteins to mitochondria.

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Russell Grimwade School of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Parkville, Australia.


A clear picture has emerged over the past years on how a 'classic' mitochondrial protein, like subunit IV of cytochrome c oxidase, might be targeted to mitochondria. The targeting and subsequent import process involves the commitment of the TOM (translocase in the outer mitochondrial membrane) receptor complex on the mitochondrial surface, a TIM (translocase in the inner mitochondrial membrane) translocation complex in the mitochondrial inner membrane, and assorted chaperones and processing enzymes within the organelle. Recent work suggests that while very many mitochondrial precursor proteins might follow this basic targeting pathway, a large number have further requirements if they are to be successfully imported. These include ribosome-associated factors and soluble factors in the cytosol, soluble factors in the mitochondrial intermembrane space, an additional TIM translocase in the inner membrane and a range of narrow specificity assembly factors in the inner membrane. This review is focused on the targeting of proteins up to the stage at which they enter the TOM complex in the outer membrane.

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