Protein translocation into mitochondria requires the mitochondrial protein Hsp70. This molecular chaperone of the mitochondrial matrix is recruited to the protein import machinery by MIM44, a component associated with the inner membrane of the mitochondria. Formation of the mt-Hsp70/MIM44 complex is regulated by ATP. MIM44 and mt-Hsp 70 interact in a sequential manner with incoming segments of unfolded preproteins and thereby facilitate stepwise vectorial translocation of proteins across the mitochondrial membranes. The complex appears to act as a molecular ratchet which is energetically driven by the hydrolysis of ATP.
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