Mitochondrial protein import: from proteomics to functional mechanisms

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Sep;11(9):655-67. doi: 10.1038/nrm2959.


Mitochondria contain approximately 1,000 different proteins, most of which are imported from the cytosol. Two import pathways that direct proteins into the mitochondrial inner membrane and matrix have been known for many years. The identification of numerous new transport components in recent proteomic studies has led to novel mechanistic insight into these pathways and the discovery of new import pathways into the outer membrane and intermembrane space. Protein translocases do not function as independent units but are integrated into dynamic networks and are connected to machineries that function in bioenergetics, mitochondrial morphology and coupling to the endoplasmic reticulum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport
  • Proteomics*


  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins