Transport of proteins into mitochondria: translocational intermediates spanning contact sites between outer and inner membranes

Cell. 1985 Nov;43(1):339-50. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(85)90039-x.


Translocational intermediates of precursor proteins of ATPase F1 beta subunit and cytochrome c1 across mitochondrial membranes were analyzed using two different approaches, transport at low temperature and transport after binding of precursor proteins to antibodies. Under both conditions precursors were partially transported into mitochondria in an energy-dependent manner. They were processed by the metalloprotease in the matrix but a major proportion of the polypeptide chains was still present at the outer face of the outer mitochondrial membrane. We conclude that transfer of precursors into the inner membrane or matrix space occurs through "translocation contact sites"; precursor polypeptides to F1 beta and cytochrome c1 enter the matrix space with the amino terminus first; and a membrane potential is required for the transmembrane movement on an amino-terminal "domain-like" structure but not for completing translocation of the major part of the polypeptides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies
  • Biological Transport
  • Cytochrome c Group / metabolism
  • Endopeptidase K
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Enzyme Precursors / metabolism
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurospora crassa
  • Protein Precursors / immunology
  • Protein Precursors / metabolism*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism
  • Temperature


  • Antibodies
  • Cytochrome c Group
  • Enzyme Precursors
  • Protein Precursors
  • Endopeptidases
  • Endopeptidase K
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases