What is the driving force for protein import into mitochondria?

Martin Horst*, Abdussalam Azem, Gottfried Schatz, Benjamin S. Glick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins are synthesized in the cytosol as precursors and then imported into mitochondria. Protein import into the matrix space requires the function of the mitochondrial hsp70 (mhsp70) chaperone. mhsp70 is an ATPase that acts in conjunction with two partner proteins: the Tim44 subunit of the inner membrane import complex, and the nucleotide exchange factor mGrpE. A central question concerns how mhsp70 uses the energy of ATP hydrolysis to transport precursor proteins into the matrix. Recent evidence suggeststhat mhsp70 is a mechanochemical enzyme that actively pulls precursors across the inner membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 16 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Brownian ratchet
  • Chaperone
  • Mitochondrion
  • Molecular motor
  • Protein translocation
  • Translocation mechanism


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