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Annu Rev Biochem. 1997;66:863-917.

Protein import into mitochondria.

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Institut für Physiologische Chemie der Universität München, Germany.


Mitochondria import many hundreds of different proteins that are encoded by nuclear genes. These proteins are targeted to the mitochondria, translocated through the mitochondrial membranes, and sorted to the different mitochondrial subcompartments. Separate translocases in the mitochondrial outer membrane (TOM complex) and in the inner membrane (TIM complex) facilitate recognition of preproteins and transport across the two membranes. Factors in the cytosol assist in targeting of preproteins. Protein components in the matrix partake in energetically driving translocation in a reaction that depends on the membrane potential and matrix-ATP. Molecular chaperones in the matrix exert multiple functions in translocation, sorting, folding, and assembly of newly imported proteins.

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