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J Biol Chem. 2008 Jan 4;283(1):120-7. Epub 2007 Nov 1.

Biogenesis of the mitochondrial TOM complex: Mim1 promotes insertion and assembly of signal-anchored receptors.

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Institut für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Zentrum für Biochemie und Molekulare Zellforschung, Universität Freiburg, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany.


The translocase of the outer membrane (TOM complex) is the central entry gate for nuclear-encoded mitochondrial precursor proteins. All Tom proteins are also encoded by nuclear genes and synthesized as precursors in the cytosol. The channel-forming beta-barrel protein Tom40 is targeted to mitochondria via Tom receptors and inserted into the outer membrane by the sorting and assembly machinery (SAM complex). A further outer membrane protein, Mim1, plays a less defined role in assembly of Tom40 into the TOM complex. The three receptors Tom20, Tom22, and Tom70 are anchored in the outer membrane by a single transmembrane alpha-helix, located at the N terminus in the case of Tom20 and Tom70 (signal-anchored) or in the C-terminal portion in the case of Tom22 (tail-anchored). Insertion of the precursor of Tom22 into the outer membrane requires pre-existing Tom receptors while the import pathway of the precursors of Tom20 and Tom70 is only poorly understood. We report that Mim1 is required for efficient membrane insertion and assembly of Tom20 and Tom70, but not Tom22. We show that Mim1 associates with SAM(core) components to a large SAM complex, explaining its role in late steps of the assembly pathway of Tom40. We conclude that Mim1 is not only required for biogenesis of the beta-barrel protein Tom40 but also for membrane insertion and assembly of signal-anchored Tom receptors. Thus, Mim1 plays an important role in the efficient assembly of the mitochondrial TOM complex.

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