A fluorescence assay for peptide translocation into mitochondria

Sonia Martinez-Caballero, Pablo M.V. Peixoto, Kathleen W. Kinnally, María Luisa Campo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Translocation of the presequence is an early event in import of preproteins across the mitochondrial inner membrane by the TIM23 complex. Import of signal peptides, whose sequences mimic mitochondrial import presequences, was measured using a novel, qualitative, fluorescence assay in about 1 h. This peptide assay was used in conjunction with classical protein import analyses and electrophysiological approaches to examine the mechanisms underlying the functional effects of depleting two TIM23 complex components. Tim23p forms, at least in part, the pore of this complex while Tim44p forms part of the translocation motor. Depletion of Tim23p eliminates TIM23 channel activity, which interferes with both peptide and preprotein translocation. In contrast, depletion of Tim44p disrupts preprotein but not peptide translocation, which has no effect on TIM23 channel activity. Two conclusions were made. First, this fluorescence peptide assay was validated as two different mutants were accurately identified. Hence, this assay could provide a rapid means of screening mutants to identify those that fail an initial step in import, i.e., translocation of the presequence. Second, translocation of signal peptides required normal channel activity and disruption of the presequence translocase-associated motor complex did not modify TIM23 channel activity nor prevent presequence translocation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)76-82
    Number of pages7
    JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Mar 1 2007


    • Fluorescence assay
    • Mitochondria
    • Patch clamp
    • Protein import
    • Tim23
    • Tim44

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biophysics
    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Biology
    • Cell Biology


    Dive into the research topics of 'A fluorescence assay for peptide translocation into mitochondria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this