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Microsc Res Tech. 1994 Feb 15;27(3):233-61.

Interactions between brain mitochondria and cytoskeleton: evidence for specialized outer membrane domains involved in the association of cytoskeleton-associated proteins to mitochondria in situ and in vitro.

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U. 298 INSERM, CHRU, Angers, France.


The surface distribution of several proteins (porin, hexokinase, and two proteins associated with microtubules or actin filaments) on the outer membrane of brain mitochondria was analyzed by immunogold labelling of purified mitochondria in vitro. The results suggest the existence of specialized domains for the distribution of porin in the outer mitochondrial membrane. Similarities between the distribution of porin and the distribution of microtubule-associated proteins bound in vitro to mitochondria suggested that mitochondria and microtubules interact by binding microtubule-associated proteins to porin-containing domains of the outer membrane. This hypothesis was supported by biochemical studies on outer mitochondrial proteins involved in in vitro binding of cytoskeleton elements. In vitro interactions between mitochondria and microtubules or neurofilaments were analyzed by electron microscopy. These studies revealed cross-bridging between the outer membrane of mitochondria and the two cytoskeleton elements. Cross-bridging was influenced by ATP hydrolysis and by several proteins associated with the surface of mitochondria or with microtubules. In addition, unidentified proteins which were recognized by antibodies to all intermediate filaments subunits were associated either with the mitochondrial surface or with microtubules. This data suggest the participation of additional cytoplasmic proteins in the interactions between cytoskeleton elements and mitochondria.

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