ABSTRACT: The mitochondrial 70-kDa heat shock protein (mtHsp70), also known in humans as mortalin, is a central component of the mitochondrial protein import motor and plays a key role in the folding of matrix-localized mitochondrial proteins. MtHsp70 is assisted by a member of the 40-kDa heat shock protein co-chaperone family named Tid1 and a nucleotide exchange factor. Whereas, yeast mtHsp70 has been extensively studied in the context of protein import in the mitochondria, and the bacterial 70-kDa heat shock protein was recently shown to act as an ATP-fuelled unfolding enzyme capable of detoxifying stably misfolded polypeptides into harmless natively refolded proteins, little is known about the molecular functions of the human mortalin in protein homeostasis. Here, we developed novel and efficient purification protocols for mortalin and the two spliced versions of Tid1, Tid1-S, and Tid1-L and showed that mortalin can mediate the in vitro ATP-dependent reactivation of stable-preformed heat-denatured model aggregates, with the assistance of Mge1 and either Tid1-L or Tid1-S co-chaperones or yeast Mdj1. Thus, in addition of being a central component of the protein import machinery, human mortalin together with Tid1, may serve as a protein disaggregating machine which, for lack of Hsp100/ClpB disaggregating co-chaperones, may carry alone the scavenging of toxic protein aggregates in stressed, diseased, or aging human mitochondria.
Cell Stress and Chaperones 08/2011; 17(1):57-66. · 3.01 Impact Factor