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Mol Microbiol. 2007 Sep;65(5):1360-73. Epub 2007 Aug 6.

Oxidative folding of small Tims is mediated by site-specific docking onto Mia40 in the mitochondrial intermembrane space.

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Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (IMBB-FORTH), Heraklion 71110, Crete, Greece.


Oxidative folding in the mitochondrial intermembrane space (IMS) is crucial for the import of certain cysteine-rich IMS proteins. The essential proteins Mia40 and Erv1 are key components for this mechanism functioning as a disulphide protein cascade that is functionally linked to the respiratory chain by shuttling electrons onto CytC. The subunits of the chaperone complex Tim9-Tim10 require Mia40 for their biogenesis. Previously, it was shown that the four cysteines of Tim10 are crucial for folding and assembly, that they are connected intramolecularly into an inner and an outer disulphide bridge, and that the inner disulphide has a more prominent role in these processes. Here we show that interaction with Mia40 is a site-specific event: (i) the N-terminal first cysteine of the precursor is crucial for docking onto Mia40 via a mixed disulphide; (ii) release is triggered by disulphide pairing of the C-terminal cysteine onto the N-terminal one; and (iii) formation of the inner disulphide between the second and third cysteines apparently precedes the release reaction and is critical for assembly with Tim9. The Tim10-Mia40 interaction is independent of divalent cations, any other mitochondrial proteins or membranes, and is shown to occur efficiently in organello and in vitro.

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