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J Mol Biol. 2005 Oct 28;353(3):485-92. Epub 2005 Sep 8.

The essential mitochondrial protein Erv1 cooperates with Mia40 in biogenesis of intermembrane space proteins.

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Institut für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Universität Freiburg, Hermann-Herder-Strasse 7, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany.


The proteins of the mitochondrial intermembrane space (IMS) are encoded by nuclear genes and synthesized on cytosolic ribosomes. While some IMS proteins are imported by the classical presequence pathway that involves the membrane potential deltapsi across the inner mitochondrial membrane and proteolytic processing to release the mature protein to the IMS, the import of numerous small IMS proteins is independent of a deltapsi and does not include proteolytic processing. The biogenesis of small IMS proteins requires an essential mitochondrial IMS import and assembly protein, termed Mia40. Here, we show that Erv1, a further essential IMS protein that has been reported to function as a sulfhydryl oxidase and participate in biogenesis of Fe/S proteins, is also required for the biogenesis of small IMS proteins. We generated a temperature-sensitive yeast mutant of Erv1 and observed a strong reduction of the levels of small IMS proteins upon shift of the cells to non-permissive temperature. Isolated erv1-2 mitochondria were selectively impaired in import of small IMS proteins while protein import pathways to other mitochondrial subcompartments were not affected. Small IMS precursor proteins remained associated with Mia40 in erv1-2 mitochondria and were not assembled into mature oligomeric complexes. Moreover, Erv1 associated with Mia40 in a reductant-sensitive manner. We conclude that two essential proteins, Mia40 and Erv1, cooperate in the assembly pathway of small proteins of the mitochondrial IMS.

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