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Pfanner, Nikolaus; Müller, Harald K.; Harmey, Matthew A. und Neupert, Walter (November 1987): Mitochondrial protein import. Involvement of the mature part of a cleavable precursor protein in the binding to receptor sites. In: The EMBO Journal Online, Vol. 6, Nr. 11: S. 3449-3454


The precursor of F0-ATPase subunit 9 was bound to mitochondria in the absence of a mitochondrial membrane potential (delta psi). Binding was mediated by a protease-sensitive component on the mitochondrial surface. When delta psi was reestablished, bound precursor was directly imported without prior release from the mitochondrial membranes. A chimaeric protein consisting of the complete subunit 9 precursor fused to cytosolic dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) was also specifically bound to mitochondria in the absence of delta psi. Two other fusion proteins, consisting either of the entire presequence of subunit 9 and DHFR or of part of the presequence and DHFR, were imported in the presence of delta psi. In the absence of delta psi, however, specific binding to mitochondria did not take place. We suggest that the hydrophobic mature part of subunit 9 is involved in the delta psi-independent binding of the subunit 9 precursor to receptor sites on the mitochondrial surface.