Review

Evolution of the Molecular Machines for Protein Import into Mitochondria

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Science  21 Jul 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5785, pp. 314-318
DOI: 10.1126/science.1127895

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Abstract

In creating mitochondria some 2 billion years ago, the first eukaryotes needed to establish protein import machinery in the membranes of what was a bacterial endosymbiont. Some of the preexisting protein translocation apparatus of the endosymbiont appears to have been commandeered, including molecular chaperones, the signal peptidase, and some components of the protein-targeting machinery. However, the protein translocases that drive protein import into mitochondria have no obvious counterparts in bacteria, making it likely that these machines were created de novo. The presence of similar translocase subunits in all eukaryotic genomes sequenced to date suggests that all eukaryotes can be considered descendants of a single ancestor species that carried an ancestral “protomitochondria.”

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