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B11 | Quality control at the protein entry gate of mitochondria

Thomas Becker
Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Bonn

Phone: +49 228-73-2900
E-mail: thbeckerSpamProtectionuni-bonn.de
For more information and contact please visit the BECKER LAB

Running time within the CRC 1218: 07/2020 - 06/2024.


The translocase of the outer membrane (TOM complex) imports about 1000 different proteins into mitochondria. We discovered the mitochondrial protein translocation-associated degradation (mitoTAD) pathway that clears arrested precursor proteins from the TOM channel to ensure full import capacity. In this project we will analyse the molecular mechanisms and the cellular role of the mitoTAD pathway. Therefore, we will investigate how and which translocation-arrested precursor proteins are recognized and ubiquitylated. In addition, we will study how the mitoTAD pathway is integrated into a cellular stress and metabolic signalling network.

Project-related publications

den Brave, F., Engelke, J. and Becker, T. (2021) Quality control of protein import into mitochondria. Biochem. J. 478, 3125-3143.

Kelly, B., Carrizo, G.E., Edwards-Hicks, J., Sanin, D.E., Stanczak, M.A., Priesnitz, C., Flachsmann, L.J., Curtis, J.D., Mittler, G., Musa, Y., Becker, T., Buescher, J.M. and Pearce, E.L. (2021) Sulfur sequestration promotes multicellularity during nutrient limitation. Nature 591, 471-476.

Takeda, H., Tsutsumi, A., Nishizawa, T., Lindau C., Busto, J.V., Wenz, L.S., Ellenrieder, L., Imai, K., Straub, S.P., Mossmann, W., Qiu, J., Yamamori, Y., Tomii, K., Suzuki, J., Murata, T., Ogasawara, S., Nureki, O., Becker, T., Pfanner, N., Wiedemann, N., Kikkawa, M. and Endo, T. (2021) Mitochondrial sorting and assembly machinery operates by b-barrel switching. Nature 590, 163-169.

Song, J., Herrmann, J.M. and Becker, T. (2021) Quality control of the mitochondrial proteome. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 22, 54-70.

Gupta, A. and Becker, T. (2021) Mechanisms and pathways of mitochondrial outer membrane protein biogenesis. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1862, 148323.

den Brave, F. and Becker, T. (2020) Supercomplex formation boosts respiration. EMBO Rep. e51830

Doan, K.N., Grevel, A., Mårtensson, C.U., Ellenrieder, L., Thornton, N., Wenz, L.S., Opalinski, L., Guiard, B., Pfanner, N., Becker, T. (2020). The mitochondrial import complex MIM functions as main translocase for a-helical outer membrane proteins. Cell Rep. 31, 107567.

Mårtensson, C.U., Priesnitz, C., Song, J., Ellenrieder, L., Doan, K.N., Boos, F., Floerchinger, A., Zufall, N., Oeljeklaus, S., Warscheid, B., Becker, T. (2019). Mitochondrial protein translocation-associated degradation. Nature 569, 679-683.

Ellenrieder, L., Dieterle, M.P., Doan, K.N., Mårtensson, C.U., Floerchinger, A., Campo, M.L., Pfanner, N., Becker, T. (2019). Dual role of mitochondrial porin in metabolite transport across the outer membrane and protein transfer to inner membrane. Mol. Cell 73, 1056-1057.

Araiso, Y., Tsutsumi, A., Qiu, J., Imai, K., Shiota, T., Song, J., Lindau, C., Wenz, L.S., Sakaue, H., Yunoki, K., Kawano, S., Suzuki, J., Wischnewski, M., Schütze, C., Ariyama, H., Ando, T., Becker, T., Lithgow, T., Pfanner, N., Kikkawa, M., Endo, T. (2019). Structure of mitochondrial import gate reveals distinct preprotein paths. Nature 569, 679-683.

Becker, T., Song, J, Pfanner, N. (2019). Versatility of preprotein transfer from the cytosol to mitochondria. Trends Cell Biol. 29, 679-683.

Opaliński, Ł., Song, J., Priesnitz, C., Wenz, L.S., Oeljeklaus, S., Warscheid, B., Pfanner, N., Becker, T. (2018). Recruitment of cytosolic J-proteins by TOM receptors promotes mitochondrial protein biogenesis. Cell Rep. 25, 2026-2043.

Höhr, A.I.C., Lindau, C., Wirth, C., Qiu J., Stroud, D.A., Kutik, S., Guiard, B., Hunte, C., Becker, T., Pfanner, N., Wiedemann, N. (2018). Membrane protein insertion through a mitochondrial b-barrel gate. Science 359, eaah6834.