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Cell. 1998 Jun 12;93(6):1009-19.

The preprotein translocation channel of the outer membrane of mitochondria.

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Institut für Physiologische Chemie, Physikalische Biochemie, und Zellbiologie der Universität München, Germany.


The preprotein translocase of the outer membrane of mitochondria (TOM complex) facilitates the recognition, insertion, and translocation of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial preproteins. We have purified the TOM complex from Neurospora crassa and analyzed its composition and functional properties. The TOM complex contains a cation-selective high-conductance channel. Upon reconstitution into liposomes, it mediates integration of proteins into and translocation across the lipid bilayer. TOM complex particles have a diameter of about 138 A, as revealed by electron microscopy and image analysis; they contain two or three centers of stain-filled openings, which we interpret as pores with an apparent diameter of about 20 A. We conclude that the structure reported here represents the protein-conducting channel of the mitochondrial outer membrane.

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