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The soluble Tim9p-Tim10p (Tim, translocase of inner membrane) complex of the mitochondrial intermembrane space mediates the import of the carrier proteins and is a component of the TIM22 import system. The mechanism by which the Tim9p-Tim10p complex assembles and binds the carriers is not well understood, but previous studies have proposed that the conserved cysteine residues in the 'twin CX3C' motif coordinate zinc and potentially generate a zinc-finger-like structure that binds to the matrix loops of the carrier proteins. Here we have purified the native and recombinant Tim9p-Tim10p complex, and show that both complexes resemble each other and consist of three Tim9p and three Tim10p. Results from inductively coupled plasma--mass spectrometry studies failed to detect zinc in the Tim9p-Tim10p complex. Instead, the cysteine residues seemingly formed disulfide linkages. The Tim9p-Tim10p complex bound specifically to the transmembrane domains of the ADP/ATP carrier, but had no affinity for Tim23p, an inner membrane protein that is inserted via the TIM22 complex. The chaperone-like Tim9p-Tim10p complex thus may prevent aggregation of the unfolded carrier proteins in the aqueous intermembrane space.


Sean P Curran, Danielle Leuenberger, Wolfgang Oppliger, Carla M Koehler. The Tim9p-Tim10p complex binds to the transmembrane domains of the ADP/ATP carrier. The EMBO journal. 2002 Mar 1;21(5):942-53

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PMID: 11867522

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