Awaking TIM22, a dynamic ligand-gated channel for protein insertion in the mitochondrial inner membrane

Pablo M.V. Peixoto, Fernando Graña, Teresa J. Roy, Cory D. Dunn, Montaña Flores, Robert E. Jensen, María Luisa Campo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Aqueous channels are at the core of the translocase of the outer membrane (TOM) and the translocase of the inner membrane for the transport of preproteins (TIM23), the translocases mediating the transport of proteins across the outer and inner mitochondrial membranes. Yet, the existence of a channel associated to the translocase of the inner membrane for the insertion of multitopic protein (TIM22) complex has been arguable, as its function relates to the insertion of multispanning proteins into the inner membrane. For the first time, we report conditions for detecting a channel activity associated to the TIM22 translocase in organelle, i.e. intact mitoplasts. An internal signal peptide in the intermembrane space of mitochondria is a requisite to inducing this channel, which is otherwise silent. The channel showed slightly cationic and high conductance activity of 1000 pS with a predominant half-open substate. Despite their different composition, the channels of the three mitochondrial translocases were thus remarkably similar, in agreement with their common task as pores transiently trapping proteins en route to their final destination. The opening of the TIM22 channel was a step-up process depending on the signal peptide concentration. Interestingly, low membrane potentials kept the channel fully open, providing a threshold level of the peptide is present. Our results portray TIM22 as a dynamic channel solely active in the presence of its cargo proteins. In its fully open conformation, favored by the combined action of internal signal peptide and low membrane potential, the channel could embrace the in-transit protein. As insertion progressed and initial interaction with the signal peptide faded, the channel would close, sustaining its role as a shunt that places trapped proteins into the membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18694-18701
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 29 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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