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Pfaller, Rupert; Pfanner, Nikolaus; Neupert, Walter (5. January 1989): Mitochondrial protein import. Bypass of proteinaceous surface receptors can occur with low specificity and efficiency. In: The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 264, No. 1: pp. 34-39


Proteolytic degradation of receptor sites on the mitochondrial surface strongly reduces the efficiency of mitochondrial protein import. The remaining residual import still involves basic mechanisms of protein import, including: insertion of precursors into the outer membrane, requirement for ATP and a membrane potential, and translocation through contact sites between both membranes. The import of a chloroplast protein into isolated mitochondria which occurs with a low rate is not inhibited by a protease-pretreatment of mitochondria, indicating that this precursor only follows the bypass pathway. The low efficiency of bypass import suggests that this unspecific import does not disturb the uniqueness of mitochondrial protein composition. We conclude that mitochondrial protein import involves a series of steps in which receptor sites appear to be responsible for the specificity of protein uptake.