Import of rat liver mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase. Binding of the precursor to mitochondria, an intermediate step in import.
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We have previously reported that the precursor of rat liver mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase, synthesized in vitro, is about 1,500 to 2,000 Mr larger than the mature enzyme and can be processed to the mature size by isolated mitochondria from Chinese hamster ovary cells (Chien, S.-M. and Freeman, K. B. (1984) J. Biol. Chem. 259, 3337-3342). Furthermore, binding, but not processing, was observed in the presence of an uncoupler. Binding was insensitive to temperature and was completed within 2.5 min at 0 degrees C. The role of binding in the overall process of import of the precursor is now further characterized. The precursor form, bound either in the presence of an uncoupler or at 0 degrees C, was sensitive to trypsin suggesting that binding occurs on the mitochondrial outer membrane. Saturation of binding was observed with a limited amount of mitochondria and an excess of in vitro translated rat liver proteins indicating that there is a finite number of binding sites. Furthermore, when the precursor was prebound to mitochondria at 0 degrees C for 5 min, the precursor was processed to the mature size and the rate of processing was independent of the volume of reaction mixture. In contrast, the rate of processing of unbound precursor was dependent on reaction volume. These results strongly suggest that binding of the precursor of malate dehydrogenase to the mitochondrial outer membrane is an intermediate step in its import.
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