The TIM translocase in T. brucei contains Rhomboid-like proteins that are essential for mitochondrial protein import

Harsman, Anke Judith (12 October 2015). The TIM translocase in T. brucei contains Rhomboid-like proteins that are essential for mitochondrial protein import (Unpublished). In: Mitochondria in Life, Death and Disease 2015. Kreta, Griechenland. 12.10.2015-16.10.2015.

The parasitic protozoon Trypanosoma brucei is often considered as one of the earliest branching eukaryotes that have mitochondria capable of oxidative phosphorylation. Its protein import systems are therefore of great interest. Recently, it was shown that the outer mitochondrial membrane protein translocase is of similar complexity yet different composition than in other eukaryotes (1). In the inner membrane however, only a single orthologue of the pore forming Tim17/22/23 protein family was identified and termed TbTim17. Based on this finding it has been suggested that, instead of separate TIM22 and TIM23 complexes as in other eukaryotes, trypanosomes may have a single multifunctional translocase of the inner mitochondrial membrane (TIM) of reduced complexity. To elucidate the composition of the trypanosomal TIM complex we performed co-immunoprecipitations (CoIP) of epitope-tagged TbTim17 in combination with SILAC-based quantitative mass spectrometry. This led to the identification of 22 highly enriched TbTim17-interacting proteins. We tagged two of the top-scoring proteins for reciprocal CoIP analyses and recovered a set of ten proteins that are highly enriched in all three CoIPs. These proteins are excellent candidates for core subunits of the trypanosomal TIM complex. Eight of them were present in the previously determined inner membrane proteome and four show homology to small Tim chaperones. Three candidates, a novel trypanosomatid-specific 42 kDa protein, termed Tim42, and two putative orthologues of probably inactive rhomboid proteases were chosen for further analysis. All three proteins are essential in both life cycle stages and in a cell line that can grow in the absence of mitochondrial DNA. Additionally, their ablation by RNAi results in a strong protein import defect both in vivo and in vitro. Blue native PAGE reveals that Tim42, like TbTim17 is present in a high molecular weight complex. Moreover, ablation of either Tim42 or TbTim17 leads to a destabilization of the complex containing the other protein, suggesting a tight interaction of the two proteins. In summary our study shows that unlike anticipated trypanosomes have a highly complex TIM translocase that has extensively been redesigned. We have characterized three novel TIM subunits that have never been associated with mitochondrial protein import before. Two of them belong to the rhomboid protease family, a member of which recently has been implicated in the ERAD translocation system. Our study provides insight into mitochondrial evolution over large phylogenetic distances and suggests an exciting analogy between protein translocation systems of mitochondria and the ER.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


08 Faculty of Science > Departement of Chemistry and Biochemistry

UniBE Contributor:

Harsman, Anke Judith


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




Christina Schüpbach

Date Deposited:

19 Jan 2016 08:09

Last Modified:

19 Jan 2016 08:09


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