New insights into the structure and dynamics of the TOM complex in mitochondria. Nussberger et al. Biochem. Soc. Trans. 52:911-922 (2024)

April 3, 2024 /

To date, there is no general physical model of the mechanism by which unfolded polypeptide chains with different properties are imported into the mitochondria. At the molecular level, it is still unclear how transit polypeptides approach, are captured by the protein translocation machinery in the outer mitochondrial membrane, and how they subsequently cross the entropic barrier of a protein translocation pore to enter the intermembrane space. This deficiency has been due to the lack of detailed structural and dynamic information about the membrane pores. In this review, we focus on the recently determined sub-nanometer cryo-EM structures and our current knowledge of the dynamics of the mitochondrial two-pore outer membrane protein translocation machinery (TOM core complex), which provide a starting point for addressing the above questions. Of particular interest are recent discoveries showing that the TOM core complex can act as a mechanosensor, where the pores close as a result of interaction with membrane-proximal structures. We highlight unusual and new correlations between the structural elements of the TOM complexes and their dynamic behavior in the membrane environment.

For reference, see:

New insights into the structure and dynamics of the TOM complex in mitochondria. Nussberger, S., Ghosh, R., Wang, S. Biochemical Society Transactions 52:911-922, (2024)



Biophysics Group, Institute of Biomaterials and biomolecular Systems, University of Stuttgart

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