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The mitochondrial gate reveals its secrets

Finally, the architecture of the translocase of the mitochondrial outer membrane (TOM complex) is revealed, after 20 years of anticipation. Two groups have now determined the near-atomic structures of the TOM complex. These findings improve understanding of the mechanisms by which TOM facilitates the passage of about 1,000 different proteins from the cytosol into the mitochondria.

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Fig. 1: The TOM complex serves as the general gate to mitochondria and facilitates both the transfer of precursor proteins across the outer membrane and their sorting to the correct import pathway.


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I thank T. Jores for the figure concept, and K.S. Dimmer and D.G. Vitali for helpful comments. Work in the author’s laboratory is supported by grants from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

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Correspondence to Doron Rapaport.

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Rapaport, D. The mitochondrial gate reveals its secrets. Nat Struct Mol Biol 26, 1083–1085 (2019).

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