Sequential action of mitochondrial chaperones in protein import into the matrix

Ute C. Manning-Krieg, Philipp E.scherer, Gottfried Schatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Translocation and folding of proteins imported into mitochondria are mediated by two matrix-localized chaperones, mhsp70 and hsp60. In order to investigate whether these chaperones act sequentially or in parallel, we studied their interaction with newly imported precursor proteins in isolated yeast mitochondria by co-immunoprecipitation. All precursors bound transiently to mhsp70. Release from mhsp70 required hydrolysis of ATP and did not immediately generate a tightly folded protein. For example, after imported mouse dihydrofolate reductase (a soluble monomeric enzyme) had been released from mhsp70, folding to a protease resistant conformation occurred only after a lag and was much slower than the release. Under standard import conditions, no significant association of DHFR with hsp60 could be detected. Similarly, newly imported hsp60 subunit was released from mhsp70 as an incompletely folded, unassembled intermediate which accumulated at low temperature and assembled to hsp60 14-mer at higher temperature in an ATP-dependent manner. Mas2p (the larger subunit of the MAS-encoded processing protease) first bound to mhsp70, then to hsp60, and only then assembled with its partner subunit, Mas1p. We propose that ATP-dependent release from mhsp70 is insufficient to cause folding of imported proteins and that assembly of hsp60 and Mas2p requires sequential, ATP-dependent interactions with mhsp70 and hsp60.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3273-3280
Number of pages8
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1991


  • Precursor proteins
  • Refolding
  • Yeast
  • hsp60
  • hsp70

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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