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Clara Avendano-Monsalve, Maria; Carlos Ponce-Rojas, Jose; Funes, Soledad (2020)

FROM CYTOSOL TO MITOCHONDRIA: THE BEGINNING OF A PROTEIN JOURNEY

Biol. Chem. 401(6-7):645-661
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Mitochondrial protein import is one of the key processes during mitochondrial biogenesis that involves a series of events necessary for recognition and delivery of nucleus-encoded/cytosol-synthesized mitochondrial proteins into the organelle. The past research efforts have mainly unraveled how membrane translocases ensure the correct protein sorting within the different mitochondrial subcompartments. However, early steps of recognition and delivery remain relatively uncharacterized. In this review, we discuss our current understanding about the signals on mitochondrial proteins, as well as in the mRNAs encoding them, which with the help of cytosolic chaperones and membrane receptors support protein targeting to the organelle in order to avoid improper localization. In addition, we discuss recent findings that illustrate how mistargeting of mitochondrial proteins triggers stress responses, aiming to restore cellular homeostasis.