Freiburg researchers use artificial membranes to show how a particular protein reaches the mitochondria
Mitochondria serve as the powerhouses of the cell, converting the energy stored in foods into a form cells can use. When this important task fails, it can result in numerous diseases, particularly those affecting organs with a high energy consumption like the brain or the heart.
The Freiburg biochemistry professor Chris Meisinger, the Freiburg molecular medicine researcher Dr. Nora Vögtle, and the Freiburg pharmaceutical scientists Dr. Martin Holzer and Dr. Michael Keller have discovered a new import pathway proteins use to reach the mitochondria.
The common assumption among researchers up until now has been that proteins are always transported into the mitochondria via so-called import machines. The newly discovered import pathway, by contrast, is independent of the import machines. The research team published the study in the Journal of Cell Biology.
Mitochondria need more than 1000 different proteins to fulfill their vital tasks for the cells. Most of these proteins are produced in the cellular fluid and then imported into the mitochondria. The powerhouses of the cell have import machines in their membranes for this purpose.
These import machines, which are for their part also composed of various proteins, act as gatekeepers and sluices, allowing the mitochondria to import the new proteins they need from the cellular fluid.
The research team found a new import pathway for the protein Ugo1 that does not pass through the import machines. Ugo1 is localized in the outer membrane of mitochondria. The scientists succeeded in reconstructing the protein’s transport pathway in artificial membranes consisting of lipids, fat-like substances present in the membranes of mitochondria.
The import no longer functioned when the researchers constructed the artificial membrane without a particular lipid only present in small amounts, phosphatidic acid. Moreover, the scientists demonstrated that living cells with an elevated concentration of phosphatidic acid also contain a higher amount of Ugo1. “This study shows that contrary to what has previously been assumed, lipids can take on specific and active functions in the import of mitochondrial proteins,” says Chris Meisinger.
Chris Meisinger is a research group leader at the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Freiburg as well as a member of the Freiburg Cluster of Excellence BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies. Nora Vögtle is a member of Meisinger’s research group. Martin Holzer and Michael Keller conduct research at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmacy of the University of Freiburg.
Vögtle, F.N., Keller, M., Taskin, A.A., Horvath, S.E., Guan, X.L., Prinz, C., Opalinska, M., Zorzin, C., van der Laan, M., Wenk, M.R., Schubert, R., Wiedemann, N., Holzer, M., and Meisinger, C. (2015). The fusogenic lipid phosphatidic acid promotes the biogenesis of mitochondrial outer membrane protein Ugo1. Journal of Cell Biology.
Prof. Dr. Chris Meisinger
Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761 / 203 - 5287
Rudolf-Werner Dreier | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences