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Mol Biol Cell. 1997 Aug;8(8):1449-60.

Membrane translocation of mitochondrially coded Cox2p: distinct requirements for export of N and C termini and dependence on the conserved protein Oxa1p.

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Section of Genetics and Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-2703, USA.


To study in vivo the export of mitochondrially synthesized protein from the matrix to the intermembrane space, we have fused a synthetic mitochondrial gene, ARG8m, to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae COX2 gene in mitochondrial DNA. The Arg8mp moiety was translocated through the inner membrane when fused to the Cox2p C terminus by a mechanism dependent on topogenic information at least partially contained within the exported Cox2p C-terminal tail. The pre-Cox2p leader peptide did not signal translocation. Export of the Cox2p C-terminal tail, but not the N-terminal tail, was dependent on the inner membrane potential. The mitochondrial export system does not closely resemble the bacterial Sec translocase. However, normal translocation of both exported domains of Cox2p was defective in cells lacking the widely conserved inner membrane protein Oxa1p.

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