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Mol Biol Cell. 2006 Mar;17(3):1436-50. Epub 2006 Jan 11.

Proteomic analysis of the yeast mitochondrial outer membrane reveals accumulation of a subclass of preproteins.

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Rudolf-Virchow-Center for Experimental Biomedicine, Universität Würzburg, D-97078 Würzburg, Germany.


Mitochondria consist of four compartments-outer membrane, intermembrane space, inner membrane, and matrix--with crucial but distinct functions for numerous cellular processes. A comprehensive characterization of the proteome of an individual mitochondrial compartment has not been reported so far. We used a eukaryotic model organism, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to determine the proteome of highly purified mitochondrial outer membranes. We obtained a coverage of approximately 85% based on the known outer membrane proteins. The proteome represents a rich source for the analysis of new functions of the outer membrane, including the yeast homologue (Hfd1/Ymr110c) of the human protein causing Sjögren-Larsson syndrome. Surprisingly, a subclass of proteins known to reside in internal mitochondrial compartments were found in the outer membrane proteome. These seemingly mislocalized proteins included most top scorers of a recent genome-wide analysis for mRNAs that were targeted to mitochondria and coded for proteins of prokaryotic origin. Together with the enrichment of the precursor form of a matrix protein in the outer membrane, we conclude that the mitochondrial outer membrane not only contains resident proteins but also accumulates a conserved subclass of preproteins destined for internal mitochondrial compartments.

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