Understanding the Dynamic Organization of the Presequence-Translocase in Translocation of Preproteins Across Mitochondrial Inner Membrane
Mitochondrion is an endosymbiotic organelle synthesizing ~1% of its proteome, while remaining ~99% of the proteins are encoded by the nuclear genome and translated on the cytosolic ribosome. Therefore active mitochondrial biogenesis requires efficient protein transport destined for the different sub-compartments. Mitochondrion contains specialized translocation machineries in the outer and in the inner membrane known as TOM40 and TIM23-complex respectively. Import of a majority of mitochondrial proteome is mediated by inner membrane presequence translocase (TIM23 complex). However, the structural organization of Tim23-complex and mechanisms of mitochondrial inner membrane protein translocation is still elusive. Therefore, the present thesis addresses above elusive questions. Chapter 2 highlights the functional significance of different segments of Tim23 in regulating the conformational dynamics of the presequence-translocase- Tim23 is the central channel forming subunit of the presequence-translocase which recruits additional components for the assembly of the core complex. However the functional significance of different segments of Tim23 was not understood due to the lack of suitable conditional mutants. Our study has reported many conditional mutants from different segments of Tim23 which are precisely defective in the organization of the core complex and in the recruitment of the import motor component which enhances our understanding of protein translocation across mitochondrial inner membrane. Chapter 3 highlights the functional cooperativity among mtHsp70 paralogs and orthologs using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism- mtHsp70s are implicated in a broad spectrum of functions inside the mitochondria. In case of lower eukaryotes gene duplication event has given rise to multiple copies of Hsp70s thereby presenting an opportunity of division of function among these paralogs. The mitochondria of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains three Hsp70s, including Ssc1, Ssq1 and Ssc3 (Ecm10). The Ssc1 is essential for protein translocation and de novo protein folding functions while Ssq1 is needed for the Fe/S cluster biogenesis inside the mitochondria. Although it has been proposed earlier that, Ssc1 and Ssc3 possesses overlapping functions in protein translocation as a part of import motor in the Tim23-complex. However the physiological relevance and experimental evidences in favor above hypothesis was not established clearly. Our study has reported Ssc3 as an ‘atypical chaperone’ which cannot perform the generalized chaperone functions due to the conformational plasticity associated with both the domains of Ssc3 resulting into weaker client protein affinity, altered interaction with cochaperones and dysfunctional allosteric interface. Additionally, we have also highlighted the role of Nucleotide-binding domain in determining the functional specificity among Hsp70 paralogs and orthologs.
- Biochemistry (BC) 
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