Aug 1, 1989

Ionic mitochondrial channels: characteristics and possible role in protein translocation

J P HenryM Thieffry


Most of the mitochondrial proteins are synthesized in the cytoplasm as precursors which are then translocated into the organelle. These precursors have a NH2-terminal extension which functions as a mitochondrial targeting signal. The import process through mitochondrial membranes is voltage-dependent; its mechanism is still unknown. Translocation has been proposed to occur through specific channels, thus, indicating the interest of the study of mitochondrial ionic channels. Two anion channels with different electrical characteristics have been described in the outer and the inner membranes. Using the technique of "Tip-Dip", we have shown the existence of a cation channel of large conductance in mitochondria. The characteristics of this channel differ from that of the other mitochondrial anion channels. A positively charged 13-residue synthetic peptide, with the sequence of the amino terminal extremity of the nuclear-coded subunit IV of yeast cytochrome C oxidase, induces a blockade of the cationic channel. From the characteristics of the blockade, it is likely that the channel could be permeable to the peptide. The specificity of this effect suggests that this channel might be involved in protein translocation.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Cytochrome C Oxidase
Tissue Membrane
Mitochondrial Membranes
Limb Structure
Ion Channel
Mitochondrial Import Sequence
Mitochondrial Proteins
Intracellular Translocation

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