The mitochondrial protein import pathway: Are precursors imported through membrane channels?

Robert E. Jensen, Kathleen W. Kinnally

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Mitochondrial biogenesis requires the import of hundreds of different proteins from the cytosol. Protein import into mitochondria is a multistep pathway that includes recognition of precursor proteins by machinery both in the cytoplasm and on the mitochondrial surface, translocation of the precursor across one or both mitochondrial membranes, and folding of the protein after its import into the organelle. Over the past several years, many components of the import machinery have been identified using both biochemical and genetic methods. Recently, significant progress has been made determining the function of some of these import proteins. One purpose of this minireview is to summarize our current understanding of the import pathway, and to introduce the topics of the minireviews that will follow. The other goal of this minireview is to discuss recent findings suggesting that proteins are translocated across both the mitochondrial inner and outer membranes through aqueous channels.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)3-10
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1997


    • MCC
    • Mitochondria
    • PSC
    • import pathway
    • membrane channels

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Physiology
    • Cell Biology


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