Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 56, Issue 9, pp 817-824

First online:

The preprotein translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane: receptors and a general import pore

  • C. MeisingerAffiliated withInstitut für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Universität Freiburg, Hermann-Herder-Straße 7, D-79104 Freiburg Germany, Fax +49 761 203 5261, e-mail: pfanner@uni-freiburg.de
  • , J. BrixAffiliated withInstitut für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Universität Freiburg, Hermann-Herder-Straße 7, D-79104 Freiburg Germany, Fax +49 761 203 5261, e-mail: pfanner@uni-freiburg.de
  • , K. ModelAffiliated withInstitut für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Universität Freiburg, Hermann-Herder-Straße 7, D-79104 Freiburg Germany, Fax +49 761 203 5261, e-mail: pfanner@uni-freiburg.de
  • , N. PfannerAffiliated withInstitut für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Universität Freiburg, Hermann-Herder-Straße 7, D-79104 Freiburg Germany, Fax +49 761 203 5261, e-mail: pfanner@uni-freiburg.de
  • , M. T. RyanAffiliated withInstitut für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Universität Freiburg, Hermann-Herder-Straße 7, D-79104 Freiburg Germany, Fax +49 761 203 5261, e-mail: pfanner@uni-freiburg.de

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Abstract.

Cytosol-synthesized preproteins destined for the mitochondria are transported across the outer membrane by the translocase of the mitochondrial outer membrane (TOM complex). This dynamic transport machinery can be divided into receptors that recognize preprotein targeting signals and components of the general import pore complex that mediate preprotein transport across the outer membrane. This review focuses on recent studies dealing with the central questions regarding the pore-forming subunits, and architecture and gating of the translocation channel of the outer membrane.

Key words. Mitochondria; translocation; protein import; protein interaction; channel.