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Annu Rev Biochem. 2007;76:723-49.

Translocation of proteins into mitochondria.

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Institut für Physiologische Chemie, Universität München, 81377 München, Germany.


About 10% to 15% of the nuclear genes of eukaryotic organisms encode mitochondrial proteins. These proteins are synthesized in the cytosol and recognized by receptors on the surface of mitochondria. Translocases in the outer and inner membrane of mitochondria mediate the import and intramitochondrial sorting of these proteins; ATP and the membrane potential are used as energy sources. Chaperones and auxiliary factors assist in the folding and assembly of mitochondrial proteins into their native, three-dimensional structures. This review summarizes the present knowledge on the import and sorting of mitochondrial precursor proteins, with a special emphasis on unresolved questions and topics of current research.

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