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The preprotein translocase of the inner mitochondrial membrane (TIM23 complex) is the main entry gate for proteins of the matrix and the inner membrane. Tim23 forms a pore for preprotein transportation in TIM23 complex, which spans the inner membrane with transmembrane segments and exposes a hydrophilic domain in the intermembrane space. In this study, we expressed and purified the intermembrane space (IMS) domain of human Tim23 (Tim23(IMS)). The far-UV CD spectra of Tim23(IMS) in native and denatured states revealed that the protein has a limited secondary structure and a not well-defined tertiary packing. Its Stokes radius was larger than both its expected size as a folded globular protein and the size determined by size exclusion chromatography. A large increase in 8-anilino-1-naphthalene-sulfonate (ANS) fluorescence (>50-fold) was observed, indicating that hydrophobic clusters are exposed at its surface. And GlobPlot/DisEMBL program predicted that the protein is in a loose folding state. We therefore conclude that, the non-bound hydrophilic domain of the human Tim23 is in a molten globule configuration with marginal stability. Furthermore, size exclusion chromatography and sedimentation equilibrium analysis showed that Tim23(IMS) exists as a dimer. And the results, showed by ANS binding and fluorescence quenching, indicated that a pH-dependent conformational change of Tim23(IMS) occurs, and at pH 4 and 3, it forms a compact structure. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Yongqiang Zhang, Yun Xu, Qing Zhao, Zhina Ji, Honghua Deng, Shu Jie Li. The structural characteristics of human preprotein translocase of the inner mitochondrial membrane Tim23: implications for its physiological activities. Protein expression and purification. 2012 Apr;82(2):255-62

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PMID: 22306744

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