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J Biol Chem. 2002 Nov 1;277(44):42197-204. Epub 2002 Aug 26.

Insertion and assembly of human tom7 into the preprotein translocase complex of the outer mitochondrial membrane.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, La Trobe University, 3086 Melbourne, Australia.


Tom7 is a component of the translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane (TOM) and assembles into a general import pore complex that translocates preproteins into mitochondria. We have identified the human Tom7 homolog and characterized its import and assembly into the mammalian TOM complex. Tom7 is imported into mitochondria in a nucleotide-independent manner and is anchored to the outer membrane with its C terminus facing the intermembrane space. Unlike studies in fungi, we found that human Tom7 assembles into an approximately 120-kDa import intermediate in HeLa cell mitochondria. To detect subunits within this complex, we employed a novel supershift analysis whereby mitochondria containing newly imported Tom7 were incubated with antibodies specific for individual TOM components prior to separation by blue native electrophoresis. We found that the 120-kDa complex contains Tom40 and lacks receptor components. This intermediate can be chased to the stable approximately 380-kDa mammalian TOM complex that additionally contains Tom22. Overexpression of Tom22 in HeLa cells results in the rapid assembly of Tom7 into the 380-kDa complex indicating that Tom22 is rate-limiting for TOM complex formation. These results indicate that the levels of Tom22 within mitochondria dictate the assembly of TOM complexes and hence may regulate its biogenesis.

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