The Mitochondrial Outer Membrane Protein Tom70-Mediator in Protein Traffic, Membrane Contact Sites and Innate Immunity

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Oct 1;21(19):7262. doi: 10.3390/ijms21197262.


Tom70 is a versatile adaptor protein of 70 kDa anchored in the outer membrane of mitochondria in metazoa, fungi and amoeba. The tertiary structure was resolved for the Tom70 of yeast, showing 26 α-helices, most of them participating in the formation of 11 tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) motifs. Tom70 serves as a docking site for cytosolic chaperone proteins and co-chaperones and is thereby involved in the uptake of newly synthesized chaperone-bound proteins in mitochondrial biogenesis. In yeast, Tom70 additionally mediates ER-mitochondria contacts via binding to sterol transporter Lam6/Ltc1. In mammalian cells, TOM70 promotes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to mitochondria Ca2+ transfer by association with the inositol-1,4,5-triphosphate receptor type 3 (IP3R3). TOM70 is specifically targeted by the Bcl-2-related protein MCL-1 that acts as an anti-apoptotic protein in macrophages infected by intracellular pathogens, but also in many cancer cells. By participating in the recruitment of PINK1 and the E3 ubiquitin ligase Parkin, TOM70 can be implicated in the development of Parkinson's disease. TOM70 acts as receptor of the mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS) and thereby participates in the corresponding system of innate immunity against viral infections. The protein encoded by Orf9b in the genome of SARS-CoV-2 binds to TOM70, probably compromising the synthesis of type I interferons.

Keywords: IP3R3; Lam6; Ltc1; MAVS; SARS-CoV-2; SLC25; Tom70; membrane contact sites; mitochondria; mitochondrial carrier family; mitochondrial protein import.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus / genetics
  • Binding Sites
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins / chemistry*
  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Transport
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins