Protein trafficking at the crossroads to mitochondria

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2017 Jan;1864(1):125-137. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2016.10.019. Epub 2016 Oct 31.


Mitochondria are central power stations in the cell, which additionally serve as metabolic hubs for a plethora of anabolic and catabolic processes. The sustained function of mitochondria requires the precisely controlled biogenesis and expression coordination of proteins that originate from the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. Accuracy of targeting, transport and assembly of mitochondrial proteins is also needed to avoid deleterious effects on protein homeostasis in the cell. Checkpoints of mitochondrial protein transport can serve as signals that provide information about the functional status of the organelles. In this review, we summarize recent advances in our understanding of mitochondrial protein transport and discuss examples that involve communication with the nucleus and cytosol.

Keywords: Mitochondrial protein biogenesis; Protein transport; Retrograde signaling; UPRam; UPRmt.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cytosol / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Mitophagy / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Organelle Biogenesis*
  • Protein Transport
  • Signal Transduction


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins