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Nature communications

The non-canonical mitochondrial inner membrane presequence translocase of trypanosomatids contains two essential rhomboid-like proteins.


PMID 27991487

Abstract

Mitochondrial protein import is essential for all eukaryotes. Here we show that the early diverging eukaryote Trypanosoma brucei has a non-canonical inner membrane (IM) protein translocation machinery. Besides TbTim17, the single member of the Tim17/22/23 family in trypanosomes, the presequence translocase contains nine subunits that co-purify in reciprocal immunoprecipitations and with a presequence-containing substrate that is trapped in the translocation channel. Two of the newly discovered subunits are rhomboid-like proteins, which are essential for growth and mitochondrial protein import. Rhomboid-like proteins were proposed to form the protein translocation pore of the ER-associated degradation system, suggesting that they may contribute to pore formation in the presequence translocase of T. brucei. Pulldown of import-arrested mitochondrial carrier protein shows that the carrier translocase shares eight subunits with the presequence translocase. This indicates that T. brucei may have a single IM translocase that with compositional variations mediates import of presequence-containing and carrier proteins.