Both ATP and an energized inner membrane are required to import a purified precursor protein into mitochondria

EMBO J. 1987 Apr;6(4):1073-7.


We have investigated the energy requirement of mitochondrial protein import with a simplified system containing only isolated yeast mitochondria, energy sources and a purified precursor protein. This precursor was a fusion protein composed of 22 residues of the cytochrome oxidase subunit IV pre-sequence fused to mouse dihydrofolate reductase. Import of this protein required not only an energized inner membrane, but also ATP. ATP could be replaced by GTP, but not by CTP, TTP or non-hydrolyzable ATP analogs. Added ATP did not increase the membrane potential of respiring mitochondria; it supported import even if the proton-translocating mitochondrial ATPase and the entry of ATP into the matrix were blocked. We conclude that ATP exerts its effect on mitochondrial protein import outside the inner membrane.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / genetics*
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ribonucleotides / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase / metabolism


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Ribonucleotides
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase
  • Electron Transport Complex IV