Multistep assembly of the protein import channel of the mitochondrial outer membrane Academic Article uri icon


  • Proteins targeted to mitochondria are transported into the organelle through a high molecular weight complex called the translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane (TOM). At the core of this machinery is a multisubunit general import pore (GIP) of 400 kDa. Here we report the assembly of the yeast GIP that involves two successive intermediates of 250 kDa and 100 kDa. The precursor of the channel-lining Tom40 is first targeted to the membrane via the receptor proteins Tom20 and Tom22; it then assembles with Tom5 to form the 250 kDa intermediate exposed to the intermembrane space. The 250 kDa intermediate is followed by the formation of the 100 kDa intermediate that associates with Tom6. Maturation to the 400 kDa complex occurs by association of Tom7 and Tom22. Tom7 functions by promoting both the dissociation of the 400 kDa complex and the transition from the 100 kDa intermediate to the mature complex. These results indicate that the dynamic conversion between the 400 kDa complex and the 100 kDa late intermediate allows integration of new precursor subunits into pre-existing complexes.


  • Model, Kirstin
  • Meisinger, Chris
  • Prinz, Thorsten
  • Wiedemann, Nils
  • Truscott, Kaye N
  • Pfanner, Nikolaus
  • Ryan, Michael T

publication date

  • April 1, 2001

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