[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: THE ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM MITOCHONDRIA ENCOUNTER STRUCTURE (ERMES) TETHERS THE ER TO MITOCHONDRIA AND CONTAINS FOUR STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS: Mmm1, Mdm12, Mdm10, and Mmm2 (Mdm34). The Gem1 protein may play a role in regulating ERMES function. Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Neurospora crassa strains lacking any of Mmm1, Mdm12, or Mdm10 are known to show a variety of phenotypic defects including altered mitochondrial morphology and defects in the assembly of β-barrel proteins into the mitochondrial outer membrane. Here we examine ERMES complex components in N. crassa and show that Mmm1 is an ER membrane protein containing a Cys residue near its N-terminus that is conserved in the class Sordariomycetes. The residue occurs in the ER-lumen domain of the protein and is involved in the formation of disulphide bonds that give rise to Mmm1 dimers. Dimer formation is required for efficient assembly of Tom40 into the TOM complex. However, no effects are seen on porin assembly or mitochondrial morphology. This demonstrates a specificity of function and suggests a direct role for Mmm1 in Tom40 assembly. Mutation of a highly conserved region in the cytosolic domain of Mmm1 results in moderate defects in Tom40 and porin assembly, as well as a slight morphological phenotype. Previous reports have not examined the role of Mmm2 with respect to mitochondrial protein import and assembly. Here we show that absence of Mmm2 affects assembly of β-barrel proteins and that lack of any ERMES structural component results in defects in Tom22 assembly. Loss of N. crassa Gem1 has no effect on the assembly of these proteins but does affect mitochondrial morphology.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e71837. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The TOB-SAM complex is an essential component of the mitochondrial outer membrane that mediates the insertion of β-barrel precursor proteins into the membrane. We report here its isolation and determine its size, composition, and structural organization. The complex from Neurospora crassa was composed of Tob55-Sam50, Tob38-Sam35, and Tob37-Sam37 in a stoichiometry of 1:1:1 and had a molecular mass of 140 kD. A very minor fraction of the purified complex was associated with one Mdm10 protein. Using molecular homology modeling for Tob55 and cryoelectron microscopy reconstructions of the TOB complex, we present a model of the TOB-SAM complex that integrates biochemical and structural data. We discuss our results and the structural model in the context of a possible mechanism of the TOB insertase.
The Journal of Cell Biology 11/2012; · 10.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The alternative oxidase (AOX) of Neurospora crassa transfers electrons from ubiquinol to oxygen. The enzyme is not expressed under normal conditions. However, when the function of the standard electron transport chain is compromised, AOX is induced, providing cells with a means to continue respiration and growth. Induction of the enzyme represents a form of retrograde regulation because AOX is encoded by a nuclear gene that responds to signals produced from inefficiently functioning mitochondria. To identify genes required for AOX expression, we have screened the N. crassa gene knockout library for strains that are unable to grow in the presence of antimycin A, an inhibitor of complex III of the standard electron transport chain. From the 7800 strains containing knockouts of different genes, we identified 62 strains that have reduced levels of AOX when grown under conditions known to induce the enzyme. Some strains have virtually no AOX, whereas others have only a slight reduction of the protein. A broad range of seemingly unrelated functions are represented in the knockouts. For example, we identified transcription factors, kinases, the mitochondrial import receptor Tom70, three subunits of the COP9 signalosome, a monothiol glutaredoxin, and several hypothetical proteins as being required for wild-type levels of AOX production. Our results suggest that defects in many signaling or metabolic pathways have a negative effect on AOX expression and imply that complex systems control production of the enzyme.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Early in their formation, memories are thought to be labile, requiring a process called consolidation to give them near-permanent stability. Evidence for consolidation as an active and biologically separate mnemonic process has been established through posttraining manipulations of the brain that promote or disrupt subsequent retrieval. Consolidation is thought to be ultimately mediated via protein synthesis since translational inhibitors such as anisomycin disrupt subsequent memory when administered in a critical time window just following initial learning. However, when applied intracerebrally, they may induce additional neural disturbances. Here, we report that intrahippocampal microinfusions of anisomycin in urethane-anesthetized rats at dosages previously used in memory consolidation studies strongly suppressed (and in some cases abolished) spontaneous and evoked local field potentials (and associated extracellular current flow) as well as multiunit activity. These effects were not coupled to the production of pathological electrographic activity nor were they due to cell death. However, the amount of suppression was correlated with the degree of protein synthesis inhibition as measured by autoradiography and was also observed with cycloheximide, another translational inhibitor. Our results suggest that (1) the amnestic effects of protein synthesis inhibitors are confounded by neural silencing and that (2) intact protein synthesis is crucial for neural signaling itself.
Journal of Neuroscience 02/2012; 32(7):2377-87. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present clinical, neuroimaging, and molecular data on the identification of a new homozygous c.1783A>G (p.Thr595Ala) mutation in NDUFS1 in two inbred siblings with isolated complex I deficiency associated to a progressive cavitating leukoencephalopathy, a clinical and neuroradiological entity originally related to unknown defects of the mitochondrial energy metabolism. In both sibs, the muscle biopsy showed severe reduction of complex I enzyme activity, which was not obvious in fibroblasts. We also observed complex I dysfunction in a Neurospora crassa model of the disease, obtained by insertional mutagenesis, and in patient fibroblasts grown in galactose. Altogether, these results indicate that the NDUFS1 mutation is responsible for the disease and complex I deficiency. Clinical presentation of complex I defect is heterogeneous and includes an ample array of clinical phenotypes. Expanding the number of allelic variants in NDUFS1, our findings also contribute to a better understanding on the function of complex I.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The TOB or SAM complex is responsible for assembling several proteins into the mitochondrial outer membrane, including all β-barrel proteins. We have identified several forms of the complex in Neurospora crassa. One form contains Tob55, Tob38, and Tob37; another contains these three subunits plus the Mdm10 protein; while additional complexes contain only Tob55. As previously shown for Tob55, both Tob37 and Tob38 are essential for viability of the organism. Mitochondria deficient in Tob37 or Tob38 have reduced ability to assemble β-barrel proteins. The function of two hydrophobic domains in the C-terminal region of the Tob37 protein was investigated. Mutant Tob37 proteins lacking either or both of these regions are able to restore viability to cells lacking the protein. One of the domains was found to anchor the protein to the outer mitochondrial membrane but was not necessary for targeting or association of the protein with mitochondria. Examination of the import properties of mitochondria containing Tob37 with deletions of the hydrophobic domains reveals that the topology of Tob37 may be important for interactions between specific classes of β-barrel precursors and the TOB complex.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(9):e25650. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Mdm10, Mdm12, and Mmm1 proteins have been implicated in several mitochondrial functions including mitochondrial distribution and morphology, assembly of beta-barrel proteins such as Tom40 and porin, association of mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, and maintaining lipid composition of mitochondrial membranes. Here we show that loss of any of these three proteins in Neurospora crassa results in the formation of large mitochondrial tubules and reduces the assembly of porin and Tom40 into the outer membrane. We have also investigated the relationship of Mdm10 and Tom7 in the biogenesis of beta-barrel proteins. Previous work showed that mitochondria lacking Tom7 assemble Tom40 more efficiently, and porin less efficiently, than wild-type mitochondria. Analysis of mdm10 and tom7 single and double mutants, has demonstrated that the effects of the two mutations are additive. Loss of Tom7 partially compensates for the decrease in Tom40 assembly resulting from loss of Mdm10, whereas porin assembly is more severely reduced in the double mutant than in either single mutant. The additive effects observed in the double mutant suggest that different steps in beta-barrel assembly are affected in the individual mutants. Many aspects of Tom7 and Mdm10 function in N. crassa are different from those of their homologues in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Molecular biology of the cell 03/2010; 21(10):1725-36. · 5.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alternative oxidase (AOX) has been found in a large number of filamentous fungi and yeasts with the notable exceptions of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. In virtually all of these fungi, AOX is induced by stresses on the cell that compromise the efficiency of the standard mitochondrial electron transport chain. As AOX is encoded in the nucleus and the signals that induce its expression originate in mitochondria, induction of the enzyme provides a classic example of retrograde regulation where signals from mitochondria influence the expression of nuclear genes. We have previously isolated mutants in Neurospora crassa that are incapable of inducing AOX. The genes affected in two of these mutants, aod-2 and aod-5, encode zinc cluster transcription factors that act to control expression of the AOX by binding to an alternative oxidase induction motif (AIM) found in the promoter of the AOX structural gene. We have now used pull-down assays and size-exclusion chromatography to demonstrate that the AOD2 and AOD5 proteins physically interact in vitro. In addition, we have shown that a homolog of the RTG2 protein, which is part of a classic retrograde signaling pathway in S. cerevisiae, is not required for AOX regulation in N. crassa.
Physiologia Plantarum 05/2009; 137(4):407-18. · 3.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The alternative oxidase transfers electrons from ubiquinol to molecular oxygen, providing a mechanism for bypassing the later steps of the standard cytochrome-mediated electron transport chain. The enzyme is found in an array of organisms and in many cases is known to be produced in response to perturbations of the standard chain. Alternative oxidase is encoded in the nucleus but functions in the inner mitochondrial membrane. This implies the existence of a retrograde regulation pathway for communicating from the mitochondrion to the nucleus to induce alternative oxidase expression. Previous studies on alternative oxidase in fungi and plants have shown that a number of genes are required for expression of the enzyme, but the identity of these genes has remained elusive. By gene rescue we have now shown that the aod-2 and aod-5 genes of Neurospora crassa encode transcription factors of the zinc-cluster family. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays show that the DNA-binding domains of the AOD2 and AOD5 proteins act in tandem to bind a sequence element in the alternative oxidase gene promoter that is required for expression. Both proteins contain potential PAS domains near their C terminus, which are found primarily in proteins involved in signal transduction.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tob55 is the major component of the TOB complex, which is found in the outer membrane of mitochondria. A sheltered knockout of the tob55 gene was developed in Neurospora crassa. When grown under conditions that reduce the levels of the Tob55 protein, the strain exhibited a reduced growth rate and mitochondria isolated from these cells were deficient in their ability to import beta-barrel proteins. Surprisingly, Western blots of wild-type mitochondrial proteins revealed two bands for Tob55 that differed by approximately 4 kDa in their apparent molecular masses. Sequence analysis of cDNAs revealed that the tob55 mRNA is alternatively spliced and encodes three isoforms of the protein, which are predicted to contain 521, 516, or 483 amino acid residues. Mass spectrometry of proteins isolated from purified outer membrane vesicles confirmed the existence of each isoform in mitochondria. Strains that expressed each isoform of the protein individually were constructed. When cells expressing only the longest form of the protein were grown at elevated temperature, their growth rate was reduced and mitochondria isolated from these cells were deficient in their ability to assembly beta-barrel proteins.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nuclear aod-1 gene of Neurospora crassa encodes the alternative oxidase and is induced when the standard cytochrome-mediated respiratory chain of mitochondria is inhibited. To study elements of the pathway responsible for alternative oxidase induction, we generated a series of mutations in the region upstream from the aod-1 structural gene and transformed the constructs into an aod-1 mutant strain. Transformed conidia were plated on media containing antimycin A, which inhibits the cytochrome-mediated electron transport chain so that only cells expressing alternative oxidase will grow. Using this functional in vivo assay, we identified an alternative oxidase induction motif (AIM) that is required for efficient expression of aod-1. The AIM sequence consists of two CGG repeats separated by 7 bp and is similar to sequences known to be bound by members of the Zn(II)2Cys6 binuclear cluster family of transcription factors. The AIM motif appears to be conserved in other species found in the order Sordariales.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurospora crassa has proven to be an excellent organism for studying various aspects of the biology of mitochondria by biochemical and genetic approaches. As N. crassa is an obligate aerobe and contains complex I, its mitochondria are more similar to mammalian mitochondria than those of yeast. The recent sequencing of the genome of N. crassa and a gene knockout project that is under way make the organism even more attractive. We describe some of the advantages of N. crassa as a model organism and present methods for isolation of mitochondria, fractionation of these organelles, and disruption of essential genes in this organism.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 02/2007; 372:107-23.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial preproteins synthesized in the cytosol are imported through the mitochondrial outer membrane by the translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane (TOM) complex. Tom40 is the major component of the complex and is essential for cell viability. We generated 21 different mutations in conserved regions of the Neurospora crassa Tom40 protein. The mutant genes were transformed into a tom40 null nucleus maintained in a sheltered heterokaryon, and 17 of the mutant genes gave rise to viable strains. All mutations reduced the efficiency of the altered Tom40 molecules to assemble into the TOM complex. Mitochondria isolated from seven of the mutant strains had defects for importing mitochondrial preproteins. Only one strain had a general import defect for all preproteins examined. Another mutation resulted in defects in the import of a matrix-destined preprotein and an outer membrane beta-barrel protein, but import of the ADP/ATP carrier to the inner membrane was unaffected. Five strains showed deficiencies in the import of beta-barrel proteins. The latter results suggest that the TOM complex distinguishes beta-barrel proteins from other classes of preprotein during import. This supports the idea that the TOM complex plays an active role in the transfer of preproteins to subsequent translocases for insertion into the correct mitochondrial subcompartment.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2006; 281(32):22554-65. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The TOM (translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane) complex of the outer mitochondrial membrane is required for the import of proteins into the organelle. The core TOM complex contains five proteins, including three small components Tom7, Tom6, and Tom5. We have created single and double mutants of all combinations of the three small Tom proteins of Neurospora crassa. Analysis of the mutants revealed that Tom6 plays a major role in TOM complex stability, whereas Tom7 has a lesser role. Mutants lacking both Tom6 and Tom7 have an extremely labile TOM complex and are the only class of mutant to exhibit an altered growth phenotype. Although single mutants lacking N. crassa Tom5 have no apparent TOM complex abnormalities, studies of double mutants lacking Tom5 suggest that it also has a minor role in maintaining TOM complex stability. Our inability to isolate triple mutants supports the idea that the three proteins have overlapping functions. Mitochondria lacking either Tom6 or Tom7 are differentially affected in their ability to import different precursor proteins into the organelle, suggesting that they may play roles in the sorting of proteins to different mitochondrial subcompartments. Newly imported Tom40 was readily assembled into the TOM complex in mitochondria lacking any of the small Tom proteins.
Molecular Biology of the Cell 10/2005; 16(9):4172-82. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transport of nuclear encoded proteins into mitochondria is mediated by multisubunit translocation machineries in the outer and inner membranes of mitochondria. The TOM complex contains receptor and pore components that facilitate the recognition of preproteins and their transfer through the outer membrane. In addition, the complex contains a set of small proteins. Tom7 and Tom6 have been found in Neurospora and yeast, Tom5 has been found so far only in the latter organism. In the present study, we identified Neurospora Tom5 and analyzed its function in comparison to yeast Tom5, which has been proposed to play a role as a receptor-like component. Neurospora Tom5 crosses the outer membrane with its carboxyl terminus facing the intermembrane space like the other small Tom components. The temperature-sensitive growth phenotype of the yeast TOM5 deletion was rescued by overexpression of Neurospora Tom5. On the other hand, Neurospora cells deficient in tom5 did not exhibit any defect in growth. The structural stability of TOM complexes from cells devoid of Tom5 was significantly altered in yeast but not in Neurospora. The efficiency of protein import in Neurospora mitochondria was not affected by deletion of tom5, whereas in yeast it was reduced as compared with wild type. We conclude that the main role of Tom5, rather than being a receptor, is maintaining the structural integrity of the TOM complex.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2005; 280(15):14499-506. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: When the cytochrome-mediated mitochondrial electron transport chain of Neurospora crassa is disrupted, an alternative oxidase encoded by the nuclear aod-1 gene is induced. The alternative oxidase donates electrons directly to oxygen from the ubiquininol pool and is insensitive to chemicals such as antimycin A and KCN that affect the standard electron transport chain. To facilitate isolation of mutants affecting regulation of aod-1, a reporter system containing the region upstream of the aod-1 coding sequence fused to the coding sequence of the N. crassa tyrosinase gene (T) was transformed into a strain carrying a null allele of the endogenous T gene. In the resulting reporter strain, growth in the presence of chloramphenicol, an inhibitor of mitochondrial translation whose action decreases the level of mitochondrial translation products resulting in impaired cytochrome-mediated respiration, caused induction of both alternative oxidase and tyrosinase. Conidia from the reporter strain were mutagenized, plated on medium containing chloramphenicol, and colonies that did not express tyrosinase were identified as potential regulatory mutants. After further characterization, 15 strains were found that were unable to induce both the reporter and the alternative oxidase. Complementation analysis revealed that four novel loci involved in aod-1 regulation had been isolated. The discovery that several genes are required for regulation of aod-1 suggests the existence of a complex pathway for signaling from the mitochondria to the nucleus and/or for expression of the gene.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proteins of the Oxa1/YidC/Alb3 family mediate the insertion of proteins into membranes of mitochondria, bacteria, and chloroplasts. Here we report the identification of a second gene of the Oxa1/YidC/Alb3 family in the genome of Neurospora crassa, which we have named oxa2. Its gene product, Oxa2, is located in the inner membrane of mitochondria. Deletion of the oxa2 gene caused a specific defect in the biogenesis of cytochrome oxidase and resulted in induction of the alternative oxidase (AOD), which bypasses the need for complex IV of the respiratory chain. The Oxa2 protein of N. crassa complements Cox18-deficient yeast mutants suggesting a common function for both proteins. The oxa2 sequence allowed the identification of a new subfamily of Oxa1/YidC/Alb3 proteins whose members appear to be ubiquitously present in mitochondria of fungi, plants, and animals including humans.
Molecular Biology of the Cell 05/2004; 15(4):1853-61. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Precursor proteins of the solute carrier family and of channel forming Tim components are imported into mitochondria in two main steps. First, they are translocated through the TOM complex in the outer membrane, a process assisted by the Tim9/Tim10 complex. They are passed on to the TIM22 complex, which facilitates their insertion into the inner membrane. In the present study, we have analyzed the function of the Tim9/Tim10 complex in the translocation of substrates across the outer membrane of mitochondria. The purified TOM core complex was reconstituted into lipid vesicles in which purified Tim9/Tim10 complex was entrapped. The precursor of the ADP/ATP carrier (AAC) was found to be translocated across the membrane of such lipid vesicles. Thus, these components are sufficient for translocation of AAC precursor across the outer membrane. Peptide libraries covering various substrate proteins were used to identify segments that are bound by Tim9/Tim10 complex upon translocation through the TOM complex. The patterns of binding sites on the substrate proteins suggest a mechanism by which portions of membrane-spanning segments together with flanking hydrophilic segments are recognized and bound by the Tim9/Tim10 complex as they emerge from the TOM complex into the intermembrane space.
Molecular Biology of the Cell 04/2004; 15(3):1445-58. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Tim8 and Tim13 proteins in yeast are known to exist in the mitochondrial intermembrane space and to form a hetero-oligomeric complex involved in the import of the mitochondrial inner membrane protein Tim23, the central component of the TIM23 translocase. Here, we have isolated tim8 and tim13 mutants in Neurospora crassa and have shown that mitochondria lacking the Tim8-Tim13 complex were deficient in the import of the outer membrane beta-barrel proteins Tom40 and porin. Cross-linking studies showed that the Tom40 precursor contacts the Tim8-Tim13 complex. The complex is involved at an early point in the Tom40 assembly pathway because cross-links can only be detected during the initial stages of Tom40 import. In mitochondria lacking the Tim8-Tim13 complex, the Tom40 precursor appears in a previously characterized early intermediate of Tom40 assembly more slowly than in wild type mitochondria. Thus, our data suggest a model in which one of the first steps in Tom40 assembly may be interaction with the Tim8-Tim13 complex. As in yeast, the N. crassa Tim23 precursor was imported inefficiently into mitochondria lacking the Tim8-Tim13 complex when the membrane potential was reduced. Tim23 import intermediates could also be cross-linked to the complex, suggesting a dual role for the Tim8-Tim13 intermembrane space complex in the import of proteins found in both the outer and inner mitochondrial membranes.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2004; 279(13):12396-405. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The translocase of the outer membrane of mitochondria (TOM complex) mediates the initial steps of the import of preproteins
into the organelle, a process essential for mitochondrial biogenesis and thereby for eukaryotic cell viability. The TOM complex
contains import receptors (Tom20 and Tom70) for the initial recognition of preproteins, and membrane-embedded components that
form the general import pore (Tom40, Tom22, Tom5, Tom6, and Tom7). This chapter summarizes our current knowledge of the signals
that target mitochondrial proteins to their correct intracellular location, and describes the mechanisms by which the TOM
complex recognizes precursor proteins and mediates their translocation either across, or into, the mitochondrial outer membrane.