Cell cycle–dependent regulation of mitochondrial preprotein translocase

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Science  06 Nov 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1261253

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Mitochondria play central roles in cellular energy conversion, metabolism and apoptosis. Mitochondria import more than 1,000 different proteins from the cytosol. It is unknown if the mitochondrial protein import machinery is connected to the cell division cycle. We found that the cyclin-dependent kinase Cdk1 stimulated assembly of the main mitochondrial entry gate, the translocase of the outer membrane (TOM), in mitosis. The molecular mechanism involved phosphorylation of the cytosolic precursor of Tom6 by cyclin Clb3-activated Cdk1, leading to enhanced import of Tom6 into mitochondria. Tom6 phosphorylation promoted assembly of the protein import channel Tom40 and import of fusion proteins, thus stimulating the respiratory activity of mitochondria in mitosis. Tom6 phosphorylation provides a direct means for regulating mitochondrial biogenesis and activity in a cell cycle-specific manner.

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