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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A synthetic presequence reversibly inhibits protein import into yeast mitochondria.

We show that a synthetic peptide corresponding to the N-terminal 22 residues of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit IV presequence blocked import of pre-subunit IV into yeast mitochondria. The 22-residue peptide pL4-(1-22) did not alter the electrical potential across the mitochondrial inner membrane (the delta psi). Inhibition of import was reversible and could be overcome by the addition of increased amounts of precursor. Two other peptides, pL4-(1-16) and pL4-(1-23), which correspond to, respectively, the N-terminal 16 and 23 residues of the same presequence, also blocked import of pre-subunit IV. However, pL4-(1-16) was a much weaker inhibitor of import, while the inhibitory effect of pL4-(1-23) was due to its ability to completely collapse the delta psi. pL4-(1-22) seems to be a general inhibitor of mitochondrial import, in that it also blocked uptake of several other proteins. These included the precursors of the yeast proteins cytochrome c oxidase subunit Va, the F1-ATPase beta subunit, mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase, and the ATP/ADP carrier. In addition, uptake of two non-yeast precursor proteins (human ornithine transcarbamylase and a cytochrome oxidase subunit IV-dihydrofolate reductase fusion), was also blocked by the peptide. Subsequent studies revealed that pL4-(1-22) did not block the initial recognition or binding of proteins to mitochondria. Rather, our results suggest that the peptide acts at a subsequent translocation step which is common to the import pathways of many different precursor proteins.[1]


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