Mgr2 is a new component of the mitochondrial presequence translocase required for efficient coupling of the TIM23 core complex to Tim21, respiratory chain complexes, and the translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane.
Many mitochondrial proteins are synthesized with N-terminal presequences in the cytosol. The presequence translocase of the inner mitochondrial membrane (TIM23) translocates preproteins into and across the membrane and associates with the matrix-localized import motor. The TIM23 complex consists of three core components and Tim21, which interacts with the translocase of the outer membrane (TOM) and the respiratory chain. We have identified a new subunit of the TIM23 complex, the inner membrane protein Mgr2. Mitochondria lacking Mgr2 were deficient in the Tim21-containing sorting form of the TIM23 complex. Mgr2 was required for binding of Tim21 to TIM23CORE, revealing a binding chain of TIM23CORE-Mgr2/Tim21–respiratory chain. Mgr2-deficient yeast cells were defective in growth at elevated temperature, and the mitochondria were impaired in TOM-TIM23 coupling and the import of presequence-carrying preproteins. We conclude that Mgr2 is a coupling factor of the presequence translocase crucial for cell growth at elevated temperature and for efficient protein import.
Tim23p (translocase of the inner membrane) is an essential import component located in the mitochondrial inner membrane. To determine how the Tim23 protein itself is transported into mitochondria, we used chemical cross-linking to identify proteins adjacent to Tim23p during its biogenesis. In the absence of an inner membrane potential, Tim23p is translocated across the mitochondrial outer membrane, but not inserted into the inner membrane. At this intermediate stage, we find that Tim23p forms cross-linked products with two distinct protein complexes of the intermembrane space, Tim8p–Tim13p and Tim9p–Tim10p. Tim9p and Tim10p cross-link to the COOH-terminal domain of the Tim23 protein, which carries all of the targeting signals for Tim23p. Therefore, our results suggest that the Tim9p–Tim10p complex plays a key role in Tim23p import. In contrast, Tim8p and Tim13p cross-link to the hydrophilic NH2-terminal segment of Tim23p, which does not carry essential import information and, thus, the role of Tim8p–Tim13p is unclear. Tim23p contains two matrix-facing, positively charged loops that are essential for its insertion into the inner membrane. The positive charges are not required for interaction with the Tim9p–Tim10p complex, but are essential for cross-linking of Tim23p to components of the inner membrane insertion machinery, including Tim54p, Tim22p, and Tim12p.
protein translocation; cross-linking
The presequence translocase of the mitochondrial inner membrane (TIM23 complex) mediates the import of preproteins with amino-terminal presequences. To drive matrix translocation the TIM23 complex recruits the presequence translocase-associated motor (PAM) with the matrix heat shock protein 70 (mtHsp70) as central subunit. Activity and localization of mtHsp70 are regulated by four membrane-associated cochaperones: the adaptor protein Tim44, the stimulatory J-complex Pam18/Pam16, and Pam17. It has been proposed that Tim44 serves as molecular platform to localize mtHsp70 and the J-complex at the TIM23 complex, but it is unknown how Pam17 interacts with the translocase. We generated conditional tim44 yeast mutants and selected a mutant allele, which differentially affects the association of PAM modules with TIM23. In tim44-804 mitochondria, the interaction of the J-complex with the TIM23 complex is impaired, whereas unexpectedly the binding of Pam17 is increased. Pam17 interacts with the channel protein Tim23, revealing a new interaction site between TIM23 and PAM. Thus, the motor PAM is composed of functional modules that bind to different sites of the translocase. We suggest that Tim44 is not simply a scaffold for binding of motor subunits but plays a differential role in the recruitment of PAM modules to the inner membrane translocase.
Transport of essentially all matrix and a number of inner membrane proteins is governed, entirely or in part, by N-terminal presequences and requires a coordinated action of the translocases of outer and inner mitochondrial membranes (TOM and TIM23 complexes). Here, we have analyzed Tim50, a subunit of the TIM23 complex that is implicated in transfer of precursors from TOM to TIM23. Tim50 is recruited to the TIM23 complex via Tim23 in an interaction that is essentially independent of the rest of the translocase. We find Tim50 in close proximity to the intermembrane space side of the TOM complex where it recognizes both types of TIM23 substrates, those that are to be transported into the matrix and those destined to the inner membrane, suggesting that Tim50 recognizes presequences. This function of Tim50 depends on its association with TIM23. We conclude that the efficient transfer of precursors between TOM and TIM23 complexes requires the concerted action of Tim50 with Tim23.
Tim23p is imported via the TIM (translocase of inner membrane)22 pathway for mitochondrial inner membrane proteins. In contrast to precursors with an NH2-terminal targeting presequence that are imported in a linear NH2-terminal manner, we show that Tim23p crosses the outer membrane as a loop before inserting into the inner membrane. The Tim8p–Tim13p complex facilitates translocation across the intermembrane space by binding to the membrane spanning domains as shown by Tim23p peptide scans with the purified Tim8p–Tim13p complex and crosslinking studies with Tim23p fusion constructs. The interaction between Tim23p and the Tim8p–Tim13p complex is not dependent on zinc, and the purified Tim8p–Tim13p complex does not coordinate zinc in the conserved twin CX3C motif. Instead, the cysteine residues seemingly form intramolecular disulfide linkages. Given that proteins of the mitochondrial carrier family also pass through the TOM (translocase of outer membrane) complex as a loop, our study suggests that this translocation mechanism may be conserved. Thus, polytopic inner membrane proteins, which lack an NH2-terminal targeting sequence, pass through the TOM complex as a loop followed by binding of the small Tim proteins to the hydrophobic membrane spanning domains.
protein import; TIM complex; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; mitochondria; protein translocation
Translocation of the presequence is an early event in import of preproteins across the mitochondrial inner membrane by the TIM23 complex. Import of signal peptides, whose sequences mimic mitochondrial import presequences, was measured using a novel, qualitative, fluorescence assay in about an hour. This peptide assay was used in conjunction with classical protein import analyses and electrophysiological approaches to examine the mechanisms underlying the functional effects of depleting two TIM23 complex components. Tim23p forms, at least in part, the pore of this complex while Tim44p forms part of the translocation motor. Depletion of Tim23p eliminates TIM23 channel activity, which interferes with both peptide and preprotein translocation. In contrast, depletion of Tim44p disrupts preprotein but not peptide translocation, and has no effect on TIM23 channel activity. Two conclusions were made. First, this fluorescence peptide assay was validated as two different mutants were accurately identified. Hence, this assay could provide a rapid means of screening mutants to identify those that fail an initial step in import, i.e. translocation of the presequence. Second, translocation of signal peptides required normal channel activity and disruption of the PAM complex did not modify TIM23 channel activity nor prevent presequence translocation.
Mitochondria; Patch clamp; Protein import; Tim44; Tim23; Fluorescence Assay
Mitochondrial import of cleavable preproteins occurs at translocation contact sites, where the translocase of the outer membrane (TOM) associates with the presequence translocase of the inner membrane (TIM23) in a supercomplex. Different views exist on the mechanism of how TIM23 mediates preprotein sorting to either the matrix or inner membrane. On the one hand, two TIM23 forms were proposed, a matrix transport form containing the presequence translocase-associated motor (PAM; TIM23-PAM) and a sorting form containing Tim21 (TIM23SORT). On the other hand, it was reported that TIM23 and PAM are permanently associated in a single-entity translocase. We have accumulated distinct transport intermediates of preproteins to analyze the translocases in their active, preprotein-carrying state. We identified two different forms of active TOM-TIM23 supercomplexes, TOM-TIM23SORT and TOM-TIM23-PAM. These two supercomplexes do not represent separate pathways but are in dynamic exchange during preprotein translocation and sorting. Depending on the signals of the preproteins, switches between the different forms of supercomplex and TIM23 are required for the completion of preprotein import.
The TIM22 protein import pathway of the yeast mitochondrion contains several components, including a family of five proteins (Tim8p, -9p, -10p, -12p, and -13p [Tim, for translocase of inner membrane]) that are located in the intermembrane space and are 25% identical. Tim9p and Tim10p have dual roles in mediating the import of inner membrane proteins. Like the Tim8p-Tim13p complex, the Tim9p-Tim10p complex functions as a putative chaperone to guide hydrophobic precursors across the intermembrane space. Like membrane-associated Tim12p, they are members of the Tim18p-Tim22p-Tim54p membrane complex that mediates precursor insertion into the membrane. To understand the role of this family in protein import, we have used a genetic approach to manipulate the complement of the small Tim proteins. A strain has been constructed that lacks the 70-kDa soluble Tim8p-Tim13p and Tim9p-Tim10p complexes in the intermembrane space. Instead, a functional version of Tim9p (Tim9S67Cp), identified as a second-site suppressor of a conditional tim10 mutant, maintains viability. Characterization of this strain revealed that Tim9S67Cp and Tim10p were tightly associated with the inner membrane, the soluble 70-kDa Tim8p-Tim13p and Tim9p-Tim10p complexes were not detectable, and the rate of protein import into isolated mitochondria proceeded at a slower rate. An arrested translocation intermediate bound to Tim9S67Cp was located in the intermembrane space, associated with the inner membrane. We suggest that the 70-kDa complexes facilitate import, similar to the outer membrane receptors of the TOM (hetero-oligomeric translocase of the outer membrane) complex, and the essential role of Tim9p and Tim10p may be to mediate protein insertion in the inner membrane with the TIM22 complex.
The mitochondrial presequence translocase transports preproteins to either matrix or inner membrane. Two different translocase forms have been identified: the matrix transport form, which binds the heat-shock protein 70 (Hsp70) motor, and the inner membrane–sorting form, which lacks the motor but contains translocase of inner mitochondrial membrane 21 (Tim21). The sorting form interacts with the respiratory chain in a Tim21-dependent manner. It is unknown whether the respiratory chain–bound translocase transports preproteins and how the switch between sorting form and motor form occurs. We report that the respiratory chain–bound translocase contains preproteins in transit and, surprisingly, not only sorted but also matrix-targeted preproteins. Presequence translocase-associated motor (Pam) 16 and 18, two regulatory components of the six-subunit motor, interact with the respiratory chain independently of Tim21. Thus, the respiratory chain–bound presequence translocase is not only active in preprotein sorting to the inner membrane but also in an early stage of matrix translocation. The motor does not assemble en bloc with the translocase but apparently in a step-wise manner with the Pam16/18 module before the Hsp70 core.
The β-barrel protein Tom40 functions as a protein-conducting channel in the mitochondrial outer membrane. By attaching mitochondrial presequences for various mitochondrial destinations to Tom40, it is possible to follow its sorting process. The results provide insight into the mechanism for the precise delivery of β-barrel proteins to the outer membrane.
The TOM40 complex is a protein translocator in the mitochondrial outer membrane and consists of several different subunits. Among them, Tom40 is a central subunit that constitutes a protein-conducting channel by forming a β-barrel structure. To probe the nature of the assembly process of Tom40 in the outer membrane, we attached various mitochondrial presequences to Tom40 that possess sorting information for the intermembrane space (IMS), inner membrane, and matrix and would compete with the inherent Tom40 assembly process. We analyzed the mitochondrial import of those fusion proteins in vitro. Tom40 crossed the outer membrane and/or inner membrane even in the presence of various sorting signals. N-terminal anchorage of the attached presequence to the inner membrane did not prevent Tom40 from associating with the TOB/SAM complex, although it impaired its efficient release from the TOB complex in vitro but not in vivo. The IMS or matrix-targeting presequence attached to Tom40 was effective in substituting for the requirement for small Tim proteins in the IMS for the translocation of Tom40 across the outer membrane. These results provide insight into the mechanism responsible for the precise delivery of β-barrel proteins to the outer mitochondrial membrane.
The majority of multispanning inner mitochondrial membrane proteins utilize internal targeting signals, which direct them to the carrier translocase (TIM22 complex), for their import. MPV17 and its Saccharomyces cerevisiae orthologue Sym1 are multispanning inner membrane proteins of unknown function with an amino-terminal presequence that suggests they may be targeted to the mitochondria. Mutations affecting MPV17 are associated with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS). Reconstitution of purified Sym1 into planar lipid bilayers and electrophysiological measurements have demonstrated that Sym1 forms a membrane pore. To address the biogenesis of Sym1, which oligomerizes in the inner mitochondrial membrane, we studied its import and assembly pathway. Sym1 forms a transport intermediate at the translocase of the outer membrane (TOM) complex. Surprisingly, Sym1 was not transported into mitochondria by an amino-terminal signal, and in contrast to what has been observed in carrier proteins, Sym1 transport and assembly into the inner membrane were independent of small translocase of mitochondrial inner membrane (TIM) and TIM22 complexes. Instead, Sym1 required the presequence of translocase for its biogenesis. Our analyses have revealed a novel transport mechanism for a polytopic membrane protein in which internal signals direct the precursor into the inner membrane via the TIM23 complex, indicating a presequence-independent function of this translocase.
The Tim8–Tim13 complex, located in the mitochondrial intermembrane space, functions in the TIM22 import pathway that mediates the import of the mitochondrial carriers, Tim23, Tim22, and Tim17 into the mitochondrial inner membrane. The Tim8–Tim13 complex assembles as a hexamer and binds to the substrate Tim23 to chaperone the hydrophobic Tim23 across the aqueous intermembrane space. However, both structural features of the Tim8–Tim13 complex and the binding interaction to Tim23 remain poorly defined. The crystal structure of the yeast Tim8–Tim13 complex, reported here at 2.6 Å resolution, reveals that the architecture of the Tim8–Tim13 complex is similar to other chaperones such as Tim9–Tim10, prefoldin, and Skp, in which long helices extend from a central body, like tentacles from a jellyfish. Surface plasmon resonance was applied to investigate interactions between the Tim8–Tim13 complex and Tim23. The Tim8–Tim13 complex contained approximately six binding sites and showed a complex binding interaction, indicative of positive cooperativity rather than a simple bimolecular interaction. By combining results from the structural and binding studies, we provide a molecular model of the Tim8–Tim13 complex binding to Tim23. The regions where the tentacle helices attach to the body of the Tim8–Tim13 complex contain six hydrophobic pockets that likely interact with specific sequences of Tim23 and possibly other substrates. Smaller hydrophobic patches on the tentacles themselves likely interact non-specifically with the substrate’s transmembrane helices, shielding it from the aqueous intermembrane space. The central region of Tim23, which enters the intermembrane space first, may serve to nucleate binding of the Tim8–Tim13 complex, thereby initiating the chaperoned translocation of Tim23 to the mitochondrial inner membrane.
mitochondria; protein translocation; surface plasmon resonance; cooperativity; chaperone
Tim23p is a mitochondrial inner membrane protein essential for the import of proteins from the cytosol. Tim23p contains an amino-terminal hydrophilic segment and a carboxyl-terminal hydrophobic domain (Tim23Cp). To study the functions and interactions of the two parts of Tim23p separately, we constructed tim23N, encoding only the hydrophilic region of Tim23p, and tim23C, encoding only the hydrophobic domain of Tim23p. Only the Tim23C protein is imported into mitochondria, indicating that the mitochondrial targeting information in Tim23p resides in its membrane spans or intervening loops. Tim23Cp, however, cannot substitute for full-length Tim23p, suggesting that the hydrophilic portion of Tim23p also performs an essential function in mitochondrial protein import. We found that overexpression of Tim23Cp is toxic to yeast cells that carry the tim23-1 mutation. Excess Tim23Cp causes Tim23-1p to disappear, leaving tim23-1 cells without a full-length version of the Tim23 protein. If Tim17p, another inner membrane import component, is overexpressed along with Tim23Cp, the toxicity of Tim23Cp is largely reversed and the Tim23-1 protein no longer disappears. In coimmunoprecipitations from solubilized mitochondria, Tim17p associates with the Tim23C protein. In addition, we show that Tim23p and Tim17p can be chemically cross-linked to each other in intact mitochondria. We conclude that the hydrophobic domain encoded by tim23C targets Tim23p to the mitochondria and mediates the direct interaction between Tim23p and Tim17p. In contrast, Tim23Cp cannot be coimmunoprecipitated with Tim23p, raising the possibility that the hydrophobic domain of Tim23p does not interact with other Tim23 molecules.
Many mitochondrial proteins are synthesized as preproteins carrying amino-terminal presequences in the cytosol. The preproteins are imported by the translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane (TOM) and the presequence translocase of the inner membrane (TIM). Tim50 and Tim23 transfer preproteins through the intermembrane space to the inner membrane. We report the crystal structure of the intermembrane space domain of yeast Tim50 to 1.83 Å resolution. A protruding β-hairpin of Tim50 is crucial for interaction with Tim23, providing a molecular basis for the cooperation of Tim50 and Tim23 in preprotein translocation to the protein-conducting channel of the mitochondrial inner membrane.
mitochondrial inner membrane; preprotein; protein sorting; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Tim23
Tim23 is an essential channel-forming subunit of the presequence translocase recruiting multiple components for assembly of the core complex, thereby regulating the protein translocation process. However, understanding of the precise interaction of subunits associating with Tim23 remains largely elusive. Our findings highlight that transmembrane helix 1 (TM1) is required for homodimerization of Tim23, while, together with TM2, it is involved in preprotein binding within the channel. Based on our evidence, we predict that the TM1 and TM2 from each dimer are involved in the formation of the central translocation pore, aided by Tim17. Furthermore, TM2 is also involved in the recruitment of Tim21 and the presequence-associated motor (PAM) subcomplex to the Tim23 channel, while the matrix-exposed loop L1 generates specificity in their association with the core complex. Strikingly, our findings indicate that the C-terminal sequence of Tim23 is dispensable for growth and functions as an inhibitor for binding of Tim21. Our model conceptually explains the cooperative function between Tam41 and Pam17 subunits, while the antagonistic activity of Tim21 predominantly determines the bound and free forms of the PAM subcomplex during import.
Mitochondria are indispensable organelles implicated in multiple aspects of cellular processes, including tumorigenesis. Heat shock proteins play a critical regulatory role in accurately delivering the nucleus-encoded proteins through membrane-bound presequence translocase (Tim23 complex) machinery. Although altered expression of mammalian presequence translocase components had been previously associated with malignant phenotypes, the overall organization of Tim23 complexes is still unsolved. In this report, we show the existence of three distinct Tim23 complexes, namely, B1, B2, and A, involved in the maintenance of normal mitochondrial function. Our data highlight the importance of Magmas as a regulator of translocase function and in dynamically recruiting the J-proteins DnaJC19 and DnaJC15 to individual translocases. The basic housekeeping function involves translocases B1 and B2 composed of Tim17b isoforms along with DnaJC19, whereas translocase A is nonessential and has a central role in oncogenesis. Translocase B, having a normal import rate, is essential for constitutive mitochondrial functions such as maintenance of electron transport chain complex activity, organellar morphology, iron-sulfur cluster protein biogenesis, and mitochondrial DNA. In contrast, translocase A, though dispensable for housekeeping functions with a comparatively lower import rate, plays a specific role in translocating oncoproteins lacking presequence, leading to reprogrammed mitochondrial functions and hence establishing a possible link between the TIM23 complex and tumorigenicity.
Mitochondrial protein traffic requires coordinated operation of protein translocator complexes in the mitochondrial membrane. The TIM23 complex translocates and inserts proteins into the mitochondrial inner membrane. Here we analyze the intermembrane space (IMS) domains of Tim23 and Tim50, which are essential subunits of the TIM23 complex, in these functions. We find that interactions of Tim23 and Tim50 in the IMS facilitate transfer of precursor proteins from the TOM40 complex, a general protein translocator in the outer membrane, to the TIM23 complex. Tim23–Tim50 interactions also facilitate a late step of protein translocation across the inner membrane by promoting motor functions of mitochondrial Hsp70 in the matrix. Therefore, the Tim23–Tim50 pair coordinates the actions of the TOM40 and TIM23 complexes together with motor proteins for mitochondrial protein import.
Import of mitochondrial matrix proteins involves the general translocase of the outer membrane and the presequence translocase of the inner membrane. The presequence translocase-associated motor (PAM) drives the completion of preprotein translocation into the matrix. Five subunits of PAM are known: the preprotein-binding matrix heat shock protein 70 (mtHsp70), the nucleotide exchange factor Mge1, Tim44 that directs mtHsp70 to the inner membrane, and the membrane-bound complex of Pam16-Pam18 that regulates the ATPase activity of mtHsp70. We have identified a sixth motor subunit. Pam17 (encoded by the open reading frame YKR065c) is anchored in the inner membrane and exposed to the matrix. Mitochondria lacking Pam17 are selectively impaired in the import of matrix proteins and the generation of an import-driving activity of PAM. Pam17 is required for formation of a stable complex between the cochaperones Pam16 and Pam18 and promotes the association of Pam16-Pam18 with the presequence translocase. Our findings suggest that Pam17 is required for the correct organization of the Pam16-Pam18 complex and thus contributes to regulation of mtHsp70 activity at the inner membrane translocation site.
The import motor for preproteins that are targeted into the mitochondrial matrix consists of the matrix heat shock protein Hsp70 (mtHsp70) and the translocase subunit Tim44 of the inner membrane. mtHsp70 interacts with Tim44 in an ATP-dependent reaction cycle, binds to preproteins in transit, and drives their translocation into the matrix. While different functional mechanisms are discussed for the mtHsp70-Tim44 machinery, little is known about the actual mode of interaction of both proteins. Here, we have addressed which of the three Hsp70 regions, the ATPase domain, the peptide binding domain, or the carboxy-terminal segment, are required for the interaction with Tim44. By two independent means, a two-hybrid system and coprecipitation of mtHsp70 constructs imported into mitochondria, we show that the ATPase domain interacts with Tim44, although with a reduced efficiency compared to the full-length mtHsp70. The interaction of the ATPase domain with Tim44 is ATP sensitive. The peptide binding domain and carboxy-terminal segment are unable to bind to Tim44 in the absence of the ATPase domain, but both regions enhance the interaction with Tim44 in the presence of the ATPase domain. We conclude that the ATPase domain of mtHsp70 is essential for and directly interacts with Tim44, clearly separating the mtHsp70-Tim44 interaction from the mtHsp70-substrate interaction.
Tim44 is a protein of the mitochondrial inner membrane and serves as an adaptor protein for mtHsp70 that drives the import of preproteins in an ATP-dependent manner. In this study we have modified the interaction of Tim44 with mtHsp70 and characterized the consequences for protein translocation. By deletion of an 18-residue segment of Tim44 with limited similarity to J-proteins, the binding of Tim44 to mtHsp70 was weakened. We found that in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae the deletion of this segment is lethal. To investigate the role of the 18-residue segment, we expressed Tim44Δ18 in addition to the endogenous wild-type Tim44. Tim44Δ18 is correctly targeted to mitochondria and assembles in the inner membrane import site. The coexpression of Tim44Δ18 together with wild-type Tim44, however, does not stimulate protein import, but reduces its efficiency. In particular, the promotion of unfolding of preproteins during translocation is inhibited. mtHsp70 is still able to bind to Tim44Δ18 in an ATP-regulated manner, but the efficiency of interaction is reduced. These results suggest that the J-related segment of Tim44 is needed for productive interaction with mtHsp70. The efficient cooperation of mtHsp70 with Tim44 facilitates the translocation of loosely folded preproteins and plays a crucial role in the import of preproteins which contain a tightly folded domain.
mitochondria; inner membrane; protein translocation; Tim44; Hsp70
We have identified a new protein, Tim54p, located in the yeast mitochondrial inner membrane. Tim54p is an essential import component, required for the insertion of at least two polytopic proteins into the inner membrane, but not for the translocation of precursors into the matrix. Several observations suggest that Tim54p and Tim22p are part of a protein complex in the inner membrane distinct from the previously characterized Tim23p-Tim17p complex. First, multiple copies of the TIM22 gene, but not TIM23 or TIM17, suppress the growth defect of a tim54-1 temperature-sensitive mutant. Second, Tim22p can be coprecipitated with Tim54p from detergent-solubilized mitochondria, but Tim54p and Tim22p do not interact with either Tim23p or Tim17p. Finally, the tim54-1 mutation destabilizes the Tim22 protein, but not Tim23p or Tim17p. Our results support the idea that the mitochondrial inner membrane carries two independent import complexes: one required for the translocation of proteins across the inner membrane (Tim23p–Tim17p), and the other required for the insertion of proteins into the inner membrane (Tim54p–Tim22p).
Two major routes of preprotein targeting into mitochondria are known. Preproteins carrying amino-terminal signals mainly use Tom20, the general import pore (GIP) complex and the Tim23–Tim17 complex. Preproteins with internal signals such as inner membrane carriers use Tom70, the GIP complex, and the special Tim pathway, involving small Tims of the intermembrane space and Tim22–Tim54 of the inner membrane. Little is known about the biogenesis and assembly of the Tim proteins of this carrier pathway. We report that import of the preprotein of Tim22 requires Tom20, although it uses the carrier Tim route. In contrast, the preprotein of Tim54 mainly uses Tom70, yet it follows the Tim23–Tim17 pathway. The positively charged amino-terminal region of Tim54 is required for membrane translocation but not for targeting to Tom70. In addition, we identify two novel homologues of the small Tim proteins and show that targeting of the small Tims follows a third new route where surface receptors are dispensable, yet Tom5 of the GIP complex is crucial. We conclude that the biogenesis of Tim proteins of the carrier pathway cannot be described by either one of the two major import routes, but involves new types of import pathways composed of various features of the hitherto known routes, including crossing over at the level of the GIP.
Mitochondrial protein translocation machinery in the kinetoplastid parasites, like Trypanosoma brucei, has been characterized poorly. In T. brucei genome data base, one homolog for a protein translocator of mitochondrial inner membrane (Tim) has been found, which is closely related to Tim17 from other species. The T. brucei Tim17 (TbTim17) has a molecular mass 16.2 kDa and it possesses four characteristic transmembrane domains. The protein is localized in the mitochondrial inner membrane. The level of TbTim17 protein is 6–7 fold higher in the procyclic form that has a fully active mitochondrion, than in the mammalian bloodstream form of T. brucei, where many of the mitochondrial activities are suppressed. Knockdown of TbTim17 expression by RNAi caused a cessation of cell growth in the procyclic form and reduced growth rate in the bloodstream form. Depletion of TbTim17 decreased mitochondrial membrane potential more in the procyclic than bloodstream form. However, TbTim17 knockdown reduced the expression level of several nuclear encoded mitochondrial proteins in both the forms. Furthermore, import of presequence containing nuclear encoded mitochondrial proteins was significantly reduced in TbTim17 depleted mitochondria of the procyclic as well as the bloodstream form, confirming that TbTim17 is critical for mitochondrial protein import in both developmental forms. Together, these show that TbTim17 is the translocator of nuclear encoded mitochondrial proteins and its expression is regulated according to mitochondrial activities in T. brucei.
Trypanosoma brucei; Tim17; membrane potential; mitochondrial protein import; the bloodstream and procyclic forms
Import of proteins into the matrix is driven by the Tim23 presequence translocase-associated import motor PAM. The core component of PAM is the mitochondrial chaperone mtHsp70, which ensures efficient translocation of proteins across the inner membrane through interactions with the J-protein complex Pam16–18 (Tim16-Tim14) and its cochaperone Tim44. The recently identified non-essential Pam17 is a further member of PAM. Genetic and biochemical analyses reveal synthetic interactions between PAM17 and TIM44. Pam17 is involved in an early stage of protein translocation whereas Tim44 assists in a later step of transport, suggesting that both proteins can cooperate in a complementary manner in protein import.
We previously showed that the conductance of a mitochondrial inner membrane channel, called MCC, was specifically blocked by peptides corresponding to mitochondrial import signals. To determine if MCC plays a role in protein import, we examined the relationship between MCC and Tim23p, a component of the protein import complex of the mitochondrial inner membrane. We find that antibodies against Tim23p, previously shown to inhibit mitochondrial protein import, inhibit MCC activity. We also find that MCC activity is altered in mitochondria isolated from yeast carrying the tim23-1 mutation. In contrast to wild-type MCC, we find that the conductance of MCC from the tim23-1 mutant is not significantly blocked by mitochondrial presequence peptides. Tim23 antibodies and the tim23-1 mutation do not, however, alter the activity of PSC, a presequence-peptide sensitive channel in the mitochondrial outer membrane. Our results show that Tim23p is required for normal MCC activity and raise the possibility that precursors are translocated across the inner membrane through the pore of MCC.