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
Airborne chemicals instantly identified using new technology developed at NTU Singapore
16.10.2019 | Nanyang Technological University
Family of crop viruses revealed at high resolution for the first time
15.10.2019 | John Innes Centre
A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)
It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...
Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.
The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...
Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.
Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...
A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.
The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...
Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...
02.10.2019 | Event News
02.10.2019 | Event News
19.09.2019 | Event News
16.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
16.10.2019 | Life Sciences
16.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy