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EMBO J. 1990 Oct;9(10):3191-200.

Protein import into yeast mitochondria is accelerated by the outer membrane protein MAS70.

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Biocenter, University of Basel, Switzerland.


The yeast mitochondrial outer membrane contains a major 70 kd protein with an amino-terminal hydrophobic membrane anchor and a hydrophilic 60 kd domain exposed to the cytosol. We now show that this protein (which we term MAS70) accelerates the mitochondrial import of many (but not all) precursor proteins. Anti-MAS70 IgGs or removal of MAS70 from the mitochondria by either mild trypsin treatment or by disrupting the nuclear MAS70 gene inhibits import of the F1-ATPase beta-subunit, the ADP/ATP translocator, and of several other precursors into isolated mitochondria by up to 75%, but has little effect on the import of porin. Intact cells of a mas70 null mutant import the F1-ATPase alpha-subunit and beta-subunits, cytochrome c1 and other precursors at least several fold more slowly than wild-type cells. Removal of MAS70 from wild-type mitochondria inhibits binding of the ADP/ATP translocator to the mitochondrial surface, indicating that MAS70 mediates one of the earliest import steps. Several precursors are thus imported by a pathway in which MAS70 functions as a receptor-like component. MAS70 is not essential for import of these precursors, but only accelerates this process.

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