Cluster of Excellence, University of Freiburg

Regulatory plasticity of mitochondrial inner membrane translocase and respiratory chain complexes

Prof. Dr. Nils Wiedemann (CIBSS-AI), Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Faculty of Medicine), University of Freiburg

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Mitochondrial are well known for their crucial role in oxygen dependent cellular respiration to synthesize ATP. The biogenesis of mitochondrial inner membrane proteins, e.g. subunits of the respiratory chain, depends on precursor protein translocases in the inner membrane, which import the nuclear encoded precursor proteins or export the mitochondrial encoded subunits from the matrix into the inner membrane. We have discovered and analysed multiple factors required for the formation of translocase and/or respiratory chain (super-)complexes which occur within the inner membrane and with outer membrane, intermembrane space and matrix proteins required for processes from biogenesis to degradation. Therefore, the essential inner membrane translocase and respiratory complexes likely represent major regulatory hubs for mitochondrial function. We will analyse how different metabolic and stress-conditions alter the dynamics and composition of inner membrane translocase and respiratory chain complexes. In addition, we aim to identify rare and transient regulatory assemblies of mitochondrial translocase and respiratory chain (super-)complexes, to characterize of the plasticity of mitochondrial inner membrane protein complexes as signalling hub controlling the regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis, respiration and morphology.