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Interactions between the respiratory chain and protein import complexes have been previously reported in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but the biological significance of such interactions remains unknown. Characterization of two mitochondrial preprotein and amino acid transport proteins from Arabidopsis thaliana, NADH dehydrogenase B14.7 like (B14.7 [encoded by At2g42210]) and Translocase of the inner membrane subunit 23-2 (Tim23-2 [encoded by At1g72750]), revealed both proteins are present in respiratory chain complex I and the Translocase of the Inner Membrane 17:23. Whereas depletion of B14.7 by T-DNA insertion is lethal, Tim23-2 can be depleted without lethality. Subtle overexpression of Tim23-2 results in a severe delayed growth phenotype and revealed an unexpected, inverse correlation between the abundance of Tim23-2 and the abundance of respiratory complex I. This newly discovered relationship between protein import and respiratory function was confirmed through the investigation of independent complex I knockout mutants, which were found to have correspondingly increased levels of Tim23-2. This increase in Tim23-2 was also associated with delayed growth phenotypes, increased abundance of other import components, and an increased capacity for mitochondrial protein import. Analysis of the Tim23-2-overexpressing plants through global quantitation of transcript abundance and in-organelle protein synthesis assays revealed widespread alterations in transcript abundance of genes encoding mitochondrial proteins and altered rates of mitochondrial protein translation, indicating a pivotal relationship between the machinery of mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial function.


Yan Wang, Chris Carrie, Estelle Giraud, Dina Elhafez, Reena Narsai, Owen Duncan, James Whelan, Monika W Murcha. Dual location of the mitochondrial preprotein transporters B14.7 and Tim23-2 in complex I and the TIM17:23 complex in Arabidopsis links mitochondrial activity and biogenesis. The Plant cell. 2012 Jun;24(6):2675-95

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PMID: 22730406

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