Evolution of mitochondrial protein import – lessons from trypanosomes

Schneider, André (2020). Evolution of mitochondrial protein import – lessons from trypanosomes. Biological chemistry, 401(6-7), pp. 663-676. De Gruyter 10.1515/hsz-2019-0444

[img] Text
Schneider-BiolChem-Manus-Fig.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to registered users only until 7 March 2021.
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (1MB) | Request a copy

The evolution of mitochondrial protein import and the systems that mediate it marks the boundary between the endosymbiotic ancestor of mitochondria and a true organelle that is under the control of the nucleus. Protein import has been studied in great detail in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. More recently it has also been extensively investigated in the parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma brucei making it arguably the second best studied system. Here I provide a comparative analysis of the protein import complexes of yeast and trypanosomes. Together with data from other systems, this allows to reconstruct the ancestral features of import complexes that were present in the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA) and to identify which subunits were added later in evolution. I discuss how these data can be translated into plausible scenarios providing insights into the evolution of (i) outer membrane protein import receptors, (ii) proteins involved in biogenesis of α-helically anchored outer membrane proteins, and (iii) of the intermembrane space import and assembly system. Finally, I show that the unusual presequence-associated import motor of trypanosomes suggests a scenario of how the two ancestral inner membrane protein translocases present in LECA evolved into the single bifunctional one found in extant trypanosomes.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Departement of Chemistry and Biochemistry

UniBE Contributor:

Schneider, André


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry




De Gruyter




Christina Schüpbach

Date Deposited:

07 Apr 2020 08:49

Last Modified:

21 Jun 2020 02:38

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:






Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback