The first steps of protein import into mitochondria

Volker Haucke, Trevor Lithgow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Protein import into mitochondria is initiated by the recognition and binding of precursor proteins by import components in the cytosol, on the mitochondrial surface, and in the mitochondrial outer membrane. Following their synthesis on cytoplasmic ribosomes, some precursor proteins interact with molecular chaperones in the cytosol which function in maintaining the precursor protein in an import-competent state and may also aid in the delivery of the precursor to the mitochondria. A multisubunit protein import receptor then recognises and binds precursor proteins before feeding them into the outer membrane import site. Some proteins are sorted from the import site into the outer membrane, but most precursor proteins travel through the outer membrane import site into the mitochondria, where the later steps of protein import take place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • mitochondria
  • molecular chaperones
  • protein import
  • Protein targeting

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