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1.  A crucial role of the mitochondrial protein import receptor MOM19 for the biogenesis of mitochondria 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1994;124(5):637-648.
The novel genetic method of "sheltered RIP" (repeat induced point mutation) was used to generate a Neurospora crassa mutant in which MOM19, a component of the protein import machinery of the mitochondrial outer membrane, can be depleted. Deficiency in MOM19 resulted in a severe growth defect, but the cells remained viable. The number of mitochondrial profiles was not grossly changed, but mutant mitochondria were highly deficient in cristae membranes, cytochromes, and protein synthesis activity. Protein import into isolated mutant mitochondria was decreased by factors of 6 to 30 for most proteins from all suborganellar compartments. Proteins like the ADP/ATP carrier, MOM19, and cytochrome c, whose import into wild-type mitochondria occurs independently of MOM19 became imported normally showing that the reduced import activities are solely caused by a lack of MOM19. Depletion of MOM19 reveals a close functional relationship between MOM19 and MOM22, since loss of MOM19 led to decreased levels of MOM22 and reduced protein import through MOM22. Furthermore, MOM72 does not function as a general backup receptor for MOM19 suggesting that these two proteins have distinct precursor specificities. These findings demonstrate that the import receptor MOM19 fulfills an important role in the biogenesis of mitochondria and that it is essential for the formation of mitochondria competent in respiration and phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC2119945  PMID: 8120088
2.  The mitochondrial receptor complex: Mom22 is essential for cell viability and directly interacts with preproteins. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1995;15(6):3382-3389.
A multisubunit complex in the mitochondrial outer membrane is responsible for targeting and membrane translocation of nuclear-encoded preproteins. This receptor complex contains two import receptors, a general insertion pore and the protein Mom22. It was unknown if Mom22 directly interacts with preproteins, and two views existed about the possible functions of Mom22: a central role in transfer of preproteins from both receptors to the general insertion pore or a more limited function dependent on the presence of the receptor Mom19. For this report, we identified and cloned Saccharomyces cerevisiae MOM22 and investigated whether it plays a direct role in targeting of preproteins. A preprotein accumulated at the mitochondrial outer membrane was cross-linked to Mom22. The cross-linking depended on the import stage of the preprotein. Overexpression of Mom22 suppressed the respiratory defect of yeast cells lacking Mom19 and increased preprotein import into mom19 delta mitochondria, demonstrating that Mom22 can function independently of Mom19. Overexpression of Mom22 even suppressed the lethal phenotype of a double deletion of the two import receptors known so far (mom19 delta mom72 delta). Deletion of the MOM22 gene was lethal for yeast cells, identifying Mom22 as one of the few mitochondrial membrane proteins essential for fermentative growth. These results suggest that Mom22 plays an essential role in the mitochondrial receptor complex. It directly interacts with preproteins in transit and can perform receptor-like activities.
PMCID: PMC230572  PMID: 7760834
3.  Targeting of a Tail-anchored Protein to Endoplasmic Reticulum and Mitochondrial Outer Membrane by Independent but Competing Pathways 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2001;12(8):2482-2496.
Many mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) proteins have a transmembrane domain near the C terminus and an N-terminal cytosolic moiety. It is not clear how these tail-anchored (TA) proteins posttranslationally select their target, but C-terminal charged residues play an important role. To investigate how discrimination between MOM and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) occurs, we used mammalian cytochrome b5, a TA protein existing in two, MOM or ER localized, versions. Substitution of the seven C-terminal residues of the ER isoform or of green fluorescent protein reporter constructs with one or two arginines resulted in MOM-targeted proteins, whereas a single C-terminal threonine caused promiscuous localization. To investigate whether targeting to MOM occurs from the cytosol or after transit through the ER, we tagged a MOM-directed construct with a C-terminal N-glycosylation sequence. Although in vitro this construct was efficiently glycosylated by microsomes, the protein expressed in vivo localized almost exclusively to MOM, and was nearly completely unglycosylated. The small fraction of glycosylated protein was in the ER and was not a precursor to the unglycosylated form. Thus, targeting occurs directly from the cytosol. Moreover, ER and MOM compete for the same polypeptide, explaining the dual localization of some TA proteins.
PMCID: PMC58608  PMID: 11514630
4.  VDAC Inhibition by Tubulin and its Physiological Implications 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2011;1818(6):1526-1535.
Regulation of mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) permeability has dual importance: in normal metabolite and energy exchange between mitochondria and cytoplasm, and thus in control of respiration, and in apoptosis by release of apoptogenic factors into the cytosol. However, the mechanism of this regulation involving the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), the major channel of MOM, remains controversial. For example, one of the long-standing puzzles was that in permeabilized cells, adenine nucleotide translocase is less accessible to cytosolic ADP than in isolated mitochondria. Still another puzzle was that, according to channel-reconstitution experiments, voltage regulation of VDAC is limited to potentials exceeding 30 mV, which are believed to be much too high for MOM. We have solved these puzzles and uncovered multiple new functional links by identifying a missing player in the regulation of VDAC and, hence, MOM permeability – the cytoskeletal protein tubulin. We have shown that, depending on VDAC phosphorylation state and applied voltage, nanomolar to micromolar concentrations of dimeric tubulin induce functionally important reversible blockage of VDAC reconstituted into planar phospholipid membranes. The voltage sensitivity of the blockage equilibrium is truly remarkable. It is described by an effective “gating charge” of more than ten elementary charges, thus making the blockage reaction as responsive to the applied voltage as the most voltage-sensitive channels of electrophysiology are. Analysis of the tubulin-blocked state demonstrated that although this state is still able to conduct small ions, it is impermeable to ATP and other multi-charged anions because of the reduced aperture and inversed selectivity.
The findings, obtained in a channel reconstitution assay, were supported by experiments with isolated mitochondria and human hepatoma cells. Taken together, these results suggest a previously unknown mechanism of regulation of mitochondrial energetics, governed by VDAC interaction with tubulin at the mitochondria-cytosol interface. Immediate physiological implications include new insights into serine/threonine kinase signaling pathways, Ca2+ homeostasis, and cytoskeleton/microtubule activity in health and disease, especially in the case of the highly dynamic microtubule network which is characteristic of cancerogenesis and cell proliferation. In the present review, we speculate how these findings may help to identify new mechanisms of mitochondria-associated action of chemotherapeutic microtubule-targeting drugs, and also to understand why and how cancer cells preferentially use inefficient glycolysis rather than oxidative phosphorylation (Warburg effect).
PMCID: PMC3302949  PMID: 22100746
Voltage-dependent anion channel; mitochondria; microtubules; phosphorylation; signaling networks; selectivity
5.  Mitochondrial Import of the ADP/ATP Carrier: the Essential TIM Complex of the Intermembrane Space Is Required for Precursor Release from the TOM Complex 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(22):7780-7789.
The mitochondrial intermembrane space contains a protein complex essential for cell viability, the Tim9-Tim10 complex. This complex is required for the import of hydrophobic membrane proteins, such as the ADP/ATP carrier (AAC), into the inner membrane. Different views exist about the role played by the Tim9-Tim10 complex in translocation of the AAC precursor across the outer membrane. For this report we have generated a new tim10 yeast mutant that leads to a strong defect in AAC import into mitochondria. Thereby, for the first time, authentic AAC is stably arrested in the translocase complex of the outer membrane (TOM), as shown by antibody shift blue native electrophoresis. Surprisingly, AAC is still associated with the receptors Tom70 and Tom20 when the function of Tim10 is impaired. The nonessential Tim8-Tim13 complex of the intermembrane space is not involved in the transfer of AAC across the outer membrane. These results define a two-step mechanism for translocation of AAC across the outer membrane. The initial insertion of AAC into the import channel is independent of the function of Tim9-Tim10; however, completion of translocation across the outer membrane, including release from the TOM complex, requires a functional Tim9-Tim10 complex.
PMCID: PMC134741  PMID: 12391147
6.  The Suppressor of AAC2 Lethality SAL1 Modulates Sensitivity of Heterologously Expressed Artemia ADP/ATP Carrier to Bongkrekate in Yeast 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74187.
The ADP/ATP carrier protein (AAC) expressed in Artemia franciscana is refractory to bongkrekate. We generated two strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae where AAC1 and AAC3 were inactivated and the AAC2 isoform was replaced with Artemia AAC containing a hemagglutinin tag (ArAAC-HA). In one of the strains the suppressor of ΔAAC2 lethality, SAL1, was also inactivated but a plasmid coding for yeast AAC2 was included, because the ArAACΔsal1Δ strain was lethal. In both strains ArAAC-HA was expressed and correctly localized to the mitochondria. Peptide sequencing of ArAAC expressed in Artemia and that expressed in the modified yeasts revealed identical amino acid sequences. The isolated mitochondria from both modified strains developed 85% of the membrane potential attained by mitochondria of control strains, and addition of ADP yielded bongkrekate-sensitive depolarizations implying acquired sensitivity of ArAAC-mediated adenine nucleotide exchange to this poison, independent from SAL1. However, growth of ArAAC-expressing yeasts in glycerol-containing media was arrested by bongkrekate only in the presence of SAL1. We conclude that the mitochondrial environment of yeasts relying on respiratory growth conferred sensitivity of ArAAC to bongkrekate in a SAL1-dependent manner.
PMCID: PMC3779231  PMID: 24073201
7.  Bax Activation Initiates the Assembly of a Multimeric Catalyst that Facilitates Bax Pore Formation in Mitochondrial Outer Membranes 
PLoS Biology  2012;10(9):e1001394.
Bax promotes mitochondrial permeabilization during apoptosis via a phase-transition-like event in the membrane and oligomerization of a catalyst molecule that facilitates Bax pore formation.
Bax/Bak-mediated mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) is essential for “intrinsic” apoptotic cell death. Published studies used synthetic liposomes to reveal an intrinsic pore-forming activity of Bax, but it is unclear how other mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) proteins might facilitate this function. We carefully analyzed the kinetics of Bax-mediated pore formation in isolated MOMs, with some unexpected results. Native MOMs were more sensitive than liposomes to added Bax, and MOMs displayed a lag phase not observed with liposomes. Heat-labile MOM proteins were required for this enhanced response. A two-tiered mathematical model closely fit the kinetic data: first, Bax activation promotes the assembly of a multimeric complex, which then catalyzes the second reaction, Bax-dependent pore formation. Bax insertion occurred immediately upon Bax addition, prior to the end of the lag phase. Permeabilization kinetics were affected in a reciprocal manner by [cBid] and [Bax], confirming the “hit-and-run” hypothesis of cBid-induced direct Bax activation. Surprisingly, MOMP rate constants were linearly related to [Bax], implying that Bax acts non-cooperatively. Thus, the oligomeric catalyst is distinct from Bax. Moreover, contrary to common assumption, pore formation kinetics depend on Bax monomers, not oligomers. Catalyst formation exhibited a sharp transition in activation energy at ∼28°C, suggesting a role for membrane lipid packing. Furthermore, catalyst formation was strongly inhibited by chemical antagonists of the yeast mitochondrial fission protein, Dnm1. However, the mammalian ortholog, Drp1, was undetectable in mitochondrial outer membranes. Moreover, ATP and GTP were dispensable for MOMP. Thus, the data argue that oligomerization of a catalyst protein, distinct from Bax and Drp1, facilitates MOMP, possibly through a membrane-remodeling event.
Author Summary
Mitochondria are the key energy-producing structures inside cells, but are also crucial players in a common form of programmed cell death, apoptosis. A critical event in mitochondrion-driven apoptosis involves the formation of large pores in the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM). These pores cause long-term damage to mitochondria and also allow mitochondrial proteins to escape and accelerate cell death. Previous studies have revealed that the protein Bax when activated can form pores in protein-free membranes and that it, along with Bak, is involved in the formation of mitochondrial pores, but the process remains unclear. We now show, however, that in naturally derived MOMs, Bax is assisted by another resident MOM protein, which we term the “catalyst,” and whose identity is still unknown. The mechanism involves two distinct stages. First, activated Bax activates the catalyst protein, causing multiple catalyst molecules to assemble into a larger structure (a complex). In the second stage, this catalyst complex in turn facilitates Bax-driven pore formation. Our data also reveal some unexpected details of the pore formation process; in particular, it appears that catalyst activation involves a physical change in the molecular arrangement of the membrane. Furthermore, contrary to what was previously assumed, pore formation does not require Bax molecules themselves to assemble together into larger complexes.
PMCID: PMC3457932  PMID: 23049480
8.  The human mitochondrial import receptor, hTom20p, prevents a cryptic matrix targeting sequence from gaining access to the protein translocation machinery 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1996;134(2):307-313.
Yeast Mas70p and NADH cytochrome b5 reductase are bitopic integral proteins of the mitochondrial outer membrane and are inserted into the lipid-bilayer in an Nin-Ccyto orientation via an NH2-terminal signal- anchor sequence. The signal anchor of both proteins is comprised of a short, positively charged domain followed by the predicted transmembrane segment. The positively charged domain is capable of functioning independently as a matrix-targeting signal in yeast mitochondria in vitro but does not support import into mammalian mitochondria (rat or human). Rather, this domain represents a cryptic signal that can direct import into mammalian mitochondria only if proximal components of the outer membrane import machinery are removed. This can be accomplished either by treating the surface of the intact mitochondria with trypsin or by generating mitoplasts. The import receptor Tom20p (Mas20p/MOM19) is responsible for excluding the cryptic matrix-targeting signal from mammalian mitochondria since replacement of yeast Tom20p with the human receptor confers this property to the yeast organelle while at the same time maintaining import of other proteins. In addition to contributing to positive recognition of precursor proteins, therefore, the results suggest that hTom20p may also have the ability to screen potential matrix-targeting sequences and exclude certain proteins that would otherwise be recognized and imported by distal components of the outer and inner membrane protein- translocation machinery. These findings also indicate, however, that cryptic signals, if they exist within otherwise native precursor proteins, may remain topogenically silent until the precursor successfully clears hTom20p, at which time the activity of the cryptic signal is manifested and can contribute to subsequent translocation and sorting of the polypeptide.
PMCID: PMC2120874  PMID: 8707817
9.  VDAC regulation: role of cytosolic proteins and mitochondrial lipids 
It was recently asserted that the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) serves as a global regulator, or governor, of mitochondrial function (Lemasters and Holmuhamedov, Biochim Biophys Acta 1762:181–190, 2006). Indeed, VDAC, positioned on the interface between mitochondria and the cytosol (Colombini, Mol Cell Biochem 256:107–115, 2004), is at the control point of mitochondria life and death. This large channel plays the role of a “switch” that defines in which direction mitochondria will go: to normal respiration or to suppression of mitochondria metabolism that leads to apoptosis and cell death. As the most abundant protein in the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM), VDAC is known to be responsible for ATP/ADP exchange and for the fluxes of other metabolites across MOM. It controls them by switching between the open and “closed” states that are virtually impermeable to ATP and ADP. This control has dual importance: in maintaining normal mitochondria respiration and in triggering apoptosis when cytochrome c and other apoptogenic factors are released from the intermembrane space into the cytosol. Emerging evidence indicates that VDAC closure promotes apoptotic signals without direct involvement of VDAC in the permeability transition pore or hypothetical Bax-containing cytochrome c permeable pores. VDAC gating has been studied extensively for the last 30 years on reconstituted VDAC channels. In this review we focus exclusively on physiologically relevant regulators of VDAC gating such as endogenous cytosolic proteins and mitochondrial lipids. Closure of VDAC induced by such dissimilar cytosolic proteins as pro-apoptotic tBid and dimeric tubulin is compared to show that the involved mechanisms are rather distinct. While tBid mostly modulates VDAC voltage gating, tubulin blocks the channel with the efficiency of blockage controlled by voltage. We also discuss how characteristic mitochondrial lipids, phospatidylethanolamine and cardiolipin, could regulate VDAC gating. Overall, we demonstrate that VDAC gating is not just an observation made under artificial conditions of channel reconstitution but is a major mechanism of MOM permeability control.
PMCID: PMC2671000  PMID: 18654841
Apoptosis; Mitochondria; Mitochondria outer membrane; Voltage dependent anion channel; VDAC; Channel gating; Tubulin; tBid; Cardiolipin; Lipid packing stress
10.  Presence of a Member of the Mitochondrial Carrier Family in Hydrogenosomes: Conservation of Membrane-Targeting Pathways between Hydrogenosomes and Mitochondria 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(7):2488-2497.
A number of microaerophilic eukaryotes lack mitochondria but possess another organelle involved in energy metabolism, the hydrogenosome. Limited phylogenetic analyses of nuclear genes support a common origin for these two organelles. We have identified a protein of the mitochondrial carrier family in the hydrogenosome of Trichomonas vaginalis and have shown that this protein, Hmp31, is phylogenetically related to the mitochondrial ADP-ATP carrier (AAC). We demonstrate that the hydrogenosomal AAC can be targeted to the inner membrane of mitochondria isolated from Saccharomyces cerevisiae through the Tim9-Tim10 import pathway used for the assembly of mitochondrial carrier proteins. Conversely, yeast mitochondrial AAC can be targeted into the membranes of hydrogenosomes. The hydrogenosomal AAC contains a cleavable, N-terminal presequence; however, this sequence is not necessary for targeting the protein to the organelle. These data indicate that the membrane-targeting signal(s) for hydrogenosomal AAC is internal, similar to that found for mitochondrial carrier proteins. Our findings indicate that the membrane carriers and membrane protein-targeting machinery of hydrogenosomes and mitochondria have a common evolutionary origin. Together, they provide strong evidence that a single endosymbiont evolved into a progenitor organelle in early eukaryotic cells that ultimately give rise to these two distinct organelles and support the hydrogen hypothesis for the origin of the eukaryotic cell.
PMCID: PMC85448  PMID: 10713172
11.  Structural Basis of Transcriptional Gene Silencing Mediated by Arabidopsis MOM1 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(2):e1002484.
Shifts between epigenetic states of transcriptional activity are typically correlated with changes in epigenetic marks. However, exceptions to this rule suggest the existence of additional, as yet uncharacterized, layers of epigenetic regulation. MOM1, a protein of 2,001 amino acids that acts as a transcriptional silencer, represents such an exception. Here we define the 82 amino acid domain called CMM2 (Conserved MOM1 Motif 2) as a minimal MOM1 fragment capable of transcriptional regulation. As determined by X-ray crystallography, this motif folds into an unusual hendecad-based coiled-coil. Structure-based mutagenesis followed by transgenic complementation tests in plants demonstrate that CMM2 and its dimerization are effective for transcriptional suppression at chromosomal loci co-regulated by MOM1 and the siRNA pathway but not at loci controlled by MOM1 in an siRNA–independent fashion. These results reveal a surprising separation of epigenetic activities that enable the single, large MOM1 protein to coordinate cooperating mechanisms of epigenetic regulation.
Author Summary
Epigenetic shifts in transcriptional activities are usually correlated with changes in chromatin properties and covalent modification of DNA and/or histones. There are, however, exceptional regulators that are able to switch epigenetic states without the apparent involvement of changes in chromatin or DNA modifications. MOM1 protein, derived from CHD3 chromatin remodelers, belongs to this group. Here we defined a very small domain of MOM1 (less than 5% of its total sequence) that is sufficient for epigenetic regulation. We solved the structure of this domain and found that it forms a dimer with each monomer consisting of unusual consecutive 11 amino-acid hendecad repeats folding into an antiparallel coiled-coil. In vivo experiments demonstrated that the formation of this coiled-coil is essential for silencing activity; however, it is effective only at loci co-silenced by MOM1 and small RNAs. At loci not controlled by small RNAs, the entire MOM1 protein is required. Our results demonstrate that a single epigenetic regulator is able to differentially use its domains to control diverse chromosomal targets. The acquisition of the coiled-coil domain of MOM1 reflects a neofunctionalization of CHD3 proteins, which allowed MOM1 to broaden its activity and to provide input into multiple epigenetic pathways.
PMCID: PMC3276543  PMID: 22346760
12.  Translocation and insertion of precursor proteins into isolated outer membranes of mitochondria 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1993;121(6):1233-1243.
Nuclear-encoded proteins destined for mitochondria must cross the outer or both outer and inner membranes to reach their final sub- mitochondrial locations. While the inner membrane can translocate preproteins by itself, it is not known whether the outer membrane also contains an endogenous protein translocation activity which can function independently of the inner membrane. To selectively study the protein transport into and across the outer membrane of Neurospora crassa mitochondria, outer membrane vesicles were isolated which were sealed, in a right-side-out orientation, and virtually free of inner membranes. The vesicles were functional in the insertion and assembly of various outer membrane proteins such as porin, MOM19, and MOM22. Like with intact mitochondria, import into isolated outer membranes was dependent on protease-sensitive surface receptors and led to correct folding and membrane integration. The vesicles were also capable of importing a peripheral component of the inner membrane, cytochrome c heme lyase (CCHL), in a receptor-dependent fashion. Thus, the protein translocation machinery of the outer mitochondrial membrane can function as an independent entity which recognizes, inserts, and translocates mitochondrial preproteins of the outer membrane and the intermembrane space. In contrast, proteins which have to be translocated into or across the inner membrane were only specifically bound to the vesicles, but not imported. This suggests that transport of such proteins involves the participation of components of the intermembrane space and/or the inner membrane, and that in these cases the outer membrane translocation machinery has to act in concert with that of the inner membrane.
PMCID: PMC2119708  PMID: 8389769
13.  The location of energetic compartments affects energetic communication in cardiomyocytes 
The heart relies on accurate regulation of mitochondrial energy supply to match energy demand. The main regulators are Ca2+ and feedback of ADP and Pi. Regulation via feedback has intrigued for decades. First, the heart exhibits a remarkable metabolic stability. Second, diffusion of ADP and other molecules is restricted specifically in heart and red muscle, where a fast feedback is needed the most. To explain the regulation by feedback, compartmentalization must be taken into account. Experiments and theoretical approaches suggest that cardiomyocyte energetic compartmentalization is elaborate with barriers obstructing diffusion in the cytosol and at the level of the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM). A recent study suggests the barriers are organized in a lattice with dimensions in agreement with those of intracellular structures. Here, we discuss the possible location of these barriers. The more plausible scenario includes a barrier at the level of MOM. Much research has focused on how the permeability of MOM itself is regulated, and the importance of the creatine kinase system to facilitate energetic communication. We hypothesize that at least part of the diffusion restriction at the MOM level is not by MOM itself, but due to the close physical association between the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and mitochondria. This will explain why animals with a disabled creatine kinase system exhibit rather mild phenotype modifications. Mitochondria are hubs of energetics, but also ROS production and signaling. The close association between SR and mitochondria may form a diffusion barrier to ADP added outside a permeabilized cardiomyocyte. But in vivo, it is the structural basis for the mitochondrial-SR coupling that is crucial for the regulation of mitochondrial Ca2+-transients to regulate energetics, and for avoiding Ca2+-overload and irreversible opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore.
PMCID: PMC4178378  PMID: 25324784
ADP; calcium; cardiomyocytes; creatine kinase; energetic compartments; mitochondria; oxidative phosphorylation; regulation
14.  The Yeast Aac2 Protein Exists in Physical Association with the Cytochrome bc1-COX Supercomplex and the TIM23 Machinery 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(9):3934-3943.
The ADP/ATP carrier (AAC) proteins play a central role in cellular metabolism as they facilitate the exchange of ADP and ATP across the mitochondrial inner membrane. We present evidence here that in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) mitochondria the abundant Aac2 isoform exists in physical association with the cytochrome c reductase (cytochrome bc1)-cytochrome c oxidase (COX) supercomplex and its associated TIM23 machinery. Using a His-tagged Aac2 derivative and affinity purification studies, we also demonstrate here that the Aac2 isoform can be affinity-purified with other AAC proteins. Copurification of the Aac2 protein with the TIM23 machinery can occur independently of its association with the fully assembled cytochrome bc1-COX supercomplex. In the absence of the Aac2 protein, the assembly of the cytochrome bc1-COX supercomplex is perturbed, whereby a decrease in the III2-IV2 assembly state relative to the III2-IV form is observed. We propose that the association of the Aac2 protein with the cytochrome bc1-COX supercomplex is important for the function of the OXPHOS complexes and for the assembly of the COX complex. The physiological implications of the association of AAC with the cytochrome bc1-COX-TIM23 supercomplex are also discussed.
PMCID: PMC2526699  PMID: 18614795
15.  Pleiotropic effects of the yeast Sal1 and Aac2 carriers on mitochondrial function via an activity distinct from adenine nucleotide transport 
In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, SAL1 encodes a Ca2+-binding mitochondrial carrier. Disruption of SAL1 is synthetically lethal with the loss of a specific function associated with the Aac2 isoform of the ATP/ADP translocase. This novel activity of Aac2 is defined as the V function (for Viability of aac2 sal1 double mutant), which is independent of the ATP/ADP exchange activity required for respiratory growth (the R function). We found that co-inactivation of SAL1 and AAC2 leads to defects in mitochondrial translation and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maintenance. Additionally, sal1Δ exacerbates the respiratory deficiency and mtDNA instability of ggc1Δ, shy1Δ and mtg1Δ mutants, which are known to reduce mitochondrial protein synthesis or protein complex assembly. The V function is complemented by the human Short Ca2+-binding Mitochondrial Carrier (SCaMC) protein, SCaMC-2, a putative ATP-Mg/Pi exchangers on the inner membrane. However, mitochondria lacking both Sal1p and Aac2p are not depleted of adenine nucleotides. The Aac2R252I and Aac2R253I variants mutated at the R252-254 triplet critical for nucleotide transport retain the V function. Likewise, Sal1p remains functionally active when the R479I and R481I mutations were introduced into the structurally equivalent R479-T480-R481 motif. Finally, we found that the naturally occurring V-R+ Aac1 isoform of adenine nucleotide translocase partially gains the V function at the expense of the R function by introducing the mutations P89L and A96V. Thus, our data support the view that the V function is independent of adenine nucleotide transport associated with Sal1p and Aac2p and this evolutionarily conserved activity affects multiple processes in mitochondria.
PMCID: PMC2749980  PMID: 18431598
Mitochondria; adenine nucleotide translocase; Sal1; Ca2+-binding; transport
16.  Multispan mitochondrial outer membrane protein Ugo1 follows a unique Mim1-dependent import pathway 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2011;194(3):397-405.
The mitochondrial import receptor Tom70 and outer membrane protein Mim1 regulate recognition and insertion of the multispan protein Ugo1.
The mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) harbors several multispan proteins that execute various functions. Despite their importance, the mechanisms by which these proteins are recognized and inserted into the outer membrane remain largely unclear. In this paper, we address this issue using yeast mitochondria and the multispan protein Ugo1. Using a specific insertion assay and analysis by native gel electrophoresis, we show that the import receptor Tom70, but not its partner Tom20, is involved in the initial recognition of the Ugo1 precursor. Surprisingly, the import pore formed by the translocase of the outer membrane complex appears not to be required for the insertion process. Conversely, the multifunctional outer membrane protein mitochondrial import 1 (Mim1) plays a central role in mediating the insertion of Ugo1. Collectively, these results suggest that Ugo1 is inserted into the MOM by a novel pathway in which Tom70 and Mim1 contribute to the efficiency and selectivity of the process.
PMCID: PMC3153653  PMID: 21825074
17.  Discovery of the membrane receptor for mitochondrial fission GTPase Drp1 
Small GTPases  2011;2(3):167-172.
Mitochondria frequently change their morphology by fusion and fission, and these dynamic morphologic changes are essential for maintaining both mitochondrial and cellular functions. The cytoplasmic dynamin-related guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) Drp1 (Dnm1 in yeast) is recruited to mitochondrial fission sites and severs mitochondria. Although the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) protein Fis1 functions as a membrane receptor for Dnm1 in yeast, it is not yet known whether the human homolog of yeast Fis1 (hFis1) is a membrane receptor for Drp1 in mammals. We recently identified the C-tail anchored MOM protein Mff as the bona fide receptor essential for recruiting Drp1 to mitochondrial fission sites. Here, we focus on this key molecule for mitochondrial fission after a brief description of the proteins involved in mitochondrial fission and fusion reactions. Finally, we discuss the expected role of hFis1 for regulating the mitochondrial dynamics in mammals.
PMCID: PMC3136948  PMID: 21776419
GTPase; Drp1; Mff; Fis1; mitochondrial fission
18.  Characterization of the signal that directs Bcl-xL, but not Bcl-2, to the mitochondrial outer membrane 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2003;160(1):53-64.
It is assumed that the survival factors Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL are mainly functional on mitochondria and therefore must contain mitochondrial targeting sequences. Here we show, however, that only Bcl-xL is specifically targeted to the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) whereas Bcl-2 distributes on several intracellular membranes. Mitochondrial targeting of Bcl-xL requires the COOH-terminal transmembrane (TM) domain flanked at both ends by at least two basic amino acids. This sequence is a bona fide targeting signal for the MOM as it confers specific mitochondrial localization to soluble EGFP. The signal is present in numerous proteins known to be directed to the MOM. Bcl-2 lacks the signal and therefore localizes to several intracellular membranes. The COOH-terminal region of Bcl-2 can be converted into a targeting signal for the MOM by increasing the basicity surrounding its TM. These data define a new targeting sequence for the MOM and propose that Bcl-2 acts on several intracellular membranes whereas Bcl-xL specifically functions on the MOM.
PMCID: PMC2172731  PMID: 12515824
apoptosis; Bcl-2; Bcl-xL; mitochondria; ER
19.  Lipid, Detergent, and Coomassie Blue G-250 Affect the Migration of Small Membrane Proteins in Blue Native Gels 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2013;288(30):22163-22173.
Background: Mitochondrial carriers were thought to be dimeric based on their migration in blue native gels.
Results: The high molecular mass species observed in blue native gels are composed of protein monomers, detergent, lipid, and Coomassie stain.
Conclusion: The mitochondrial carriers are monomeric not dimeric.
Significance: The apparent mass of small membrane proteins in blue native gels requires significant correction.
Blue native gel electrophoresis is a popular method for the determination of the oligomeric state of membrane proteins. Studies using this technique have reported that mitochondrial carriers are dimeric (composed of two ∼32-kDa monomers) and, in some cases, can form physiologically relevant associations with other proteins. Here, we have scrutinized the behavior of the yeast mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier AAC3 in blue native gels. We find that the apparent mass of AAC3 varies in a detergent- and lipid-dependent manner (from ∼60 to ∼130 kDa) that is not related to changes in the oligomeric state of the protein, but reflects differences in the associated detergent-lipid micelle and Coomassie Blue G-250 used in this technique. Higher oligomeric state species are only observed under less favorable solubilization conditions, consistent with aggregation of the protein. Calibration with an artificial covalent AAC3 dimer indicates that the mass observed for solubilized AAC3 and other mitochondrial carriers corresponds to a monomer. Size exclusion chromatography of purified AAC3 in dodecyl maltoside under blue native gel-like conditions shows that the mass of the monomer is ∼120 kDa, but appears smaller on gels (∼60 kDa) due to the unusually high amount of bound negatively charged dye, which increases the electrophoretic mobility of the protein-detergent-dye micelle complex. Our results show that bound lipid, detergent, and Coomassie stain alter the behavior of mitochondrial carriers on gels, which is likely to be true for other small membrane proteins where the associated lipid-detergent micelle is large when compared with the mass of the protein.
PMCID: PMC3724668  PMID: 23744064
Gel Electrophoresis; Membrane Proteins; Mitochondrial Transport; Protein Aggregation; Transporters; Detergent Micelle
20.  A novel insertion pathway of mitochondrial outer membrane proteins with multiple transmembrane segments 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;179(7):1355-1363.
The central channel Tom40 of the preprotein translocase of outer membrane (TOM) complex is thought to be responsible for the import of virtually all preproteins synthesized outside the mitochondria. In this study, we analyze the topogenesis of the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor (PBR), which integrates into the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) through five hydrophobic transmembrane segments (TMSs) and functions in cholesterol import into the inner membrane. Analyses of in vitro and in vivo import into TOM component–depleted mitochondria reveal that PBR import (1) depends on the import receptor Tom70 but requires neither the Tom20 and Tom22 import receptors nor the import channel Tom40, (2) shares the post-Tom70 pathway with the C-tail–anchored proteins, and (3) requires factors of the mitochondrial intermembrane space. Furthermore, membrane integration of mitofusins and mitochondrial ubiquitin ligase, the MOM proteins with two and four TMSs, respectively, proceeds through the same initial pathway. These findings reveal a previously unidentified pathway of the membrane integration of MOM proteins with multiple TMSs.
PMCID: PMC2373507  PMID: 18158327
21.  Cardiolipin, a critical determinant of mitochondrial carrier protein assembly and function 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2009;1788(10):2059-2068.
The ability of phospholipids to act as determinants of membrane protein structure and function is probably best exemplified by cardiolipin (CL), the signature phospholipid of mitochondria. Early efforts to reconstitute individual respiratory complexes and members of the mitochondrial carrier family, most notably the ADP/ATP carrier (AAC), often demonstrated the importance of CL. Over the past decade, the significance of CL in the organization of components of the electron transport chain into higher order assemblies, termed respiratory supercomplexes, has been established. Another protein required for oxidative phosphorylation, AAC, has received comparatively little attention likely stemming from the fact that AACs were thought to function in isolation as either homodimers or monomers. Recently however, AACs have been demonstrated to interact with the respiratory supercomplex, other members of the mitochondrial carrier family, and the TIM23 translocon. Interestingly, many if not all of these interactions depend on CL. As the paradigm for the mitochondrial carrier family, these discoveries with AAC suggest that other members of this large group of important proteins may be more gregarious than anticipated. Moreover, it is proposed that AAC and perhaps additional members of the mitochondrial carrier family might represent downstream targets of pathological states involving alterations in CL.
PMCID: PMC2757529  PMID: 19422785
ADP/ATP carrier; Cardiolipin; Mitochondrial carrier family; Oxidative phosphorylation; Respiratory supercomplex
22.  Ergosterol content specifies targeting of tail-anchored proteins to mitochondrial outer membranes 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(20):3927-3935.
Mitochondrial outer membrane tail-anchored proteins are a unique class of membrane proteins with unknown targeting mechanism. Using two high-throughput microscopy screens, we demonstrate that the inherent differences in membrane composition between organelle membranes is enough to determine membrane integration specificity in a living cell.
Tail-anchored (TA) proteins have a single C-terminal transmembrane domain, making their biogenesis dependent on posttranslational translocation. Despite their importance, no dedicated insertion machinery has been uncovered for mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) TA proteins. To decipher the molecular mechanisms guiding MOM TA protein insertion, we performed two independent systematic microscopic screens in which we visualized the localization of model MOM TA proteins on the background of mutants in all yeast genes. We could find no mutant in which insertion was completely blocked. However, both screens demonstrated that MOM TA proteins were partially localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in ∆spf1 cells. Spf1, an ER ATPase with unknown function, is the first protein shown to affect MOM TA protein insertion. We found that ER membranes in ∆spf1 cells become similar in their ergosterol content to mitochondrial membranes. Indeed, when we visualized MOM TA protein distribution in yeast strains with reduced ergosterol content, they phenocopied the loss of Spf1. We therefore suggest that the inherent differences in membrane composition between organelle membranes are sufficient to determine membrane integration specificity in a eukaryotic cell.
PMCID: PMC3469509  PMID: 22918956
23.  Unusual Modification of Bacteriophage Mu DNA 
Journal of Virology  1979;32(2):468-475.
Bacteriophage Mu DNA was labeled after induction in the presence of [2-3H]adenine or [8-3H]adenine. Both Mu mom+·dam+ DNA and Mu mom−·dam+ DNA have similar N6-methyladenine (MeAde) contents, as well as similar frequencies of MeAde nearest neighbors. Both DNAs are sensitive to in vitro cleavage by R·DpnI but resistant to cleavage by R·DpnII. These results indicate that the mom+ protein does not alter the sequence specificity of the host dam+ methylase to produce MeAde at new sites. However, we have discovered a new modified base, denoted Ax, in Mu mom+·dam+ DNA; approximately 15% of the adenine residues are modified to Ax. Although the precise nature of the modification is not yet defined, analysis by electrophoresis and chromatography indicates that the N6-amino group is not the site of modification, and that the added moiety contains a free carboxyl group. Ax is not present in Mu mom+·dam+ or Mu mom−·dam+ phage DNA or in cellular DNA from uninduced Mu mom+·dam+ lysogens. These results suggest that expression of the dam+ and mom+ genes are required for the Ax modification and that this modification is responsible for protecting Mu DNA against certain restriction nucleases. Mu mom+·dam− DNA and Mu mom−·dam− DNA contain a very low level of MeAde (ca. 1 MeAde per 5,000 adenine residues). Since the only nearest neighbor to MeAde appears to be cytosine, we suggest that the methylated sequence is 5′... C-A*-C... 3′ and that this methylation is mediated by the EcoK modification enzyme.
PMCID: PMC353578  PMID: 159363
24.  Cardiolipin defines the interactome of the major ADP/ATP carrier protein of the mitochondrial inner membrane 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2008;182(5):937-950.
Defined mutations in the mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier (AAC) are associated with certain types of progressive external ophthalmoplegia. AAC is required for oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), and dysregulation of AAC has been implicated in apoptosis. Little is known about the AAC interactome, aside from a known requirement for the phospholipid cardiolipin (CL) and that it is thought to function as a homodimer. Using a newly developed dual affinity tag, we demonstrate that yeast AAC2 physically participates in several protein complexes of distinct size and composition. The respiratory supercomplex and several smaller AAC2-containing complexes, including other members of the mitochondrial carrier family, are identified here. In the absence of CL, most of the defined interactions are destabilized or undetectable. The absence of CL and/or AAC2 results in distinct yet additive alterations in respiratory supercomplex structure and respiratory function. Thus, a single lipid can significantly alter the functional interactome of an individual protein.
PMCID: PMC2528576  PMID: 18779372
25.  Landscape of the PARKIN-dependent ubiquitylome in response to mitochondrial depolarization 
Nature  2013;496(7445):372-376.
The PARKIN (PARK2) ubiquitin ligase and its regulatory kinase PINK1 (PARK6), often mutated in familial early onset Parkinson’s Disease (PD), play central roles in mitochondrial homeostasis and mitophagy.1–3 While PARKIN is recruited to the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) upon depolarization via PINK1 action and can ubiquitylate Porin, Mitofusin, and Miro proteins on the MOM,1,4–11 the full repertoire of PARKIN substrates – the PARKIN-dependent ubiquitylome - remains poorly defined. Here we employ quantitative diGLY capture proteomics12,13 to elucidate the ubiquitylation site-specificity and topology of PARKIN-dependent target modification in response to mitochondrial depolarization. Hundreds of dynamically regulated ubiquitylation sites in dozens of proteins were identified, with strong enrichment for MOM proteins, indicating that PARKIN dramatically alters the ubiquitylation status of the mitochondrial proteome. Using complementary interaction proteomics, we found depolarization-dependent PARKIN association with numerous MOM targets, autophagy receptors, and the proteasome. Mutation of PARKIN’s active site residue C431, which has been found mutated in PD patients, largely disrupts these associations. Structural and topological analysis revealed extensive conservation of PARKIN-dependent ubiquitylation sites on cytoplasmic domains in vertebrate and D. melanogaster MOM proteins. These studies provide a resource for understanding how the PINK1-PARKIN pathway re-sculpts the proteome to support mitochondrial homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3641819  PMID: 23503661

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