Characterization of the mitochondrial inner membrane protein translocator Tim17 from Trypanosoma brucei.
ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial protein translocation machinery in the kinetoplastid parasites, like Trypanosoma brucei, has been characterized poorly. In T. brucei genome database, one homolog for a protein translocator of mitochondrial inner membrane (Tim) has been found, which is closely related to Tim17 from other species. The T. brucei Tim17 (TbTim17) has a molecular mass 16.2kDa and it possesses four characteristic transmembrane domains. The protein is localized in the mitochondrial inner membrane. The level of TbTim17 protein is 6-7-fold higher in the procyclic form that has a fully active mitochondrion, than in the mammalian bloodstream form of T. brucei, where many of the mitochondrial activities are suppressed. Knockdown of TbTim17 expression by RNAi caused a cessation of cell growth in the procyclic form and reduced growth rate in the bloodstream form. Depletion of TbTim17 decreased mitochondrial membrane potential more in the procyclic than bloodstream form. However, TbTim17 knockdown reduced the expression level of several nuclear encoded mitochondrial proteins in both the forms. Furthermore, import of presequence containing nuclear encoded mitochondrial proteins was significantly reduced in TbTim17 depleted mitochondria of the procyclic as well as the bloodstream form, confirming that TbTim17 is critical for mitochondrial protein import in both developmental forms. Together, these show that TbTim17 is the translocator of nuclear encoded mitochondrial proteins and its expression is regulated according to mitochondrial activities in T. brucei.
Project description:Translocases of mitochondrial inner membrane (TIMs) are multiprotein complexes. The only Tim component so far characterized in kinetoplastid parasites such as Trypanosoma brucei is Tim17 (TbTim17), which is essential for cell survival and mitochondrial protein import. Here, we report that TbTim17 is present in a protein complex of about 1,100 kDa, which is much larger than the TIM complexes found in fungi and mammals. Depletion of TbTim17 in T. brucei impairs the mitochondrial import of cytochrome oxidase subunit IV, an N-terminal signal-containing protein. Pretreatment of isolated mitoplasts with the anti-TbTim17 antibody inhibited import of cytochrome oxidase subunit IV, indicating a direct involvement of the TbTim17 in the import process. Purification of the TbTim17-containing protein complex from the mitochondrial membrane of T. brucei by tandem affinity chromatography revealed that TbTim17 associates with seven unique as well as a few known T. brucei mitochondrial proteins. Depletion of three of these novel proteins, i.e. TbTim47, TbTim54, and TbTim62, significantly decreased mitochondrial protein import in vitro. In vivo targeting of a newly synthesized mitochondrial matrix protein, MRP2, was also inhibited due to depletion of TbTim17, TbTim54, and TbTim62. Co-precipitation analysis confirmed the interaction of TbTim54 and TbTim62 with TbTim17 in vivo. Overall, our data reveal that TbTim17, the single homolog of Tim17/22/23 family proteins, is present in a unique TIM complex consisting of novel proteins in T. brucei and is critical for mitochondrial protein import.
Project description:Trypanosoma brucei Tim17(TbTim17), the single member of the Tim17/23/22 protein family, is an essential component of the translocase of the mitochondrial inner membrane (TIM). In spite of the conserved secondary structure, the primary sequence of TbTim17, particularly the N-terminal hydrophilic region, is significantly divergent. In order to understand the function of this region we expressed two N-terminal deletion mutants (?20 and ?30) of TbTim17 in T. brucei. Both of these mutants of TbTim17 were targeted to mitochondria, however, they failed to complement the growth defect of TbTim17 RNAi cells. In addition, the import defect of other nuclear encoded proteins into TbTim17 knockdown mitochondria were not restored by expression of the N-terminal deletion mutants but complemented by knock-in of the full-length protein. Further analysis revealed that ?20-TbTim17 and ?30-TbTim17 mutants were not localized in the mitochondrial inner membrane. Analysis of the protein complexes in the wild type and mutant mitochondria by two-dimensional Blue-native/SDS-PAGE revealed that none of these mutants are assembled into the TbTim17 protein complex. However, FL-TbTim17 was integrated into the mitochondrial inner membrane and assembled into TbTim17 complex. Co-immunoprecipitation analysis showed that unlike the FL-TbTim17, mutant proteins are not associated with the endogenous TbTim17 as well as its interacting partner TbTim62, a novel trypanosome specific Tim. Together, these results show that the N-terminal domain of TbTim17 plays unique and essential roles for its sorting and assembly into the TbTim17 protein complex.
Project description:Trypanosoma brucei, a parasitic protozoan that causes African trypanosomiasis, possesses a single member of the presequence and amino acid transporter (PRAT) protein family, which is referred to as TbTim17. In contrast, three homologous proteins, ScTim23, ScTim17, and ScTim22, are found in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and higher eukaryotes. Here, we show that TbTim17 cannot rescue Tim17, Tim23, or Tim22 mutants of S. cerevisiae. We expressed S. cerevisiae Tim23, Tim17, and Tim22 in T. brucei. These heterologous proteins were properly imported into mitochondria in the parasite. Further analysis revealed that although ScTim23 and ScTim17 were integrated into the mitochondrial inner membrane and assembled into a protein complex similar in size to TbTim17, only ScTim17 was stably associated with TbTim17. In contrast, ScTim22 existed as a protease-sensitive soluble protein in the T. brucei mitochondrion. In addition, the growth defect caused by TbTim17 knockdown in T. brucei was partially restored by the expression of ScTim17 but not by the expression of either ScTim23 or ScTim22, whereas the expression of TbTim17 fully complemented the growth defect caused by TbTim17 knockdown, as anticipated. Similar to the findings for cell growth, the defect in the import of mitochondrial proteins due to depletion of TbTim17 was in part restored by the expression of ScTim17 but was not complemented by the expression of either ScTim23 or ScTim22. Together, these results suggest that TbTim17 is divergent compared to ScTim23 but that its function is closer to that of ScTim17. In addition, ScTim22 could not be sorted properly in the T. brucei mitochondrion and thus failed to complement the function of TbTim17.
Project description:Mitochondrial protein import is essential for all eukaryotes. Here we show that the early diverging eukaryote Trypanosoma brucei has a non-canonical inner membrane (IM) protein translocation machinery. Besides TbTim17, the single member of the Tim17/22/23 family in trypanosomes, the presequence translocase contains nine subunits that co-purify in reciprocal immunoprecipitations and with a presequence-containing substrate that is trapped in the translocation channel. Two of the newly discovered subunits are rhomboid-like proteins, which are essential for growth and mitochondrial protein import. Rhomboid-like proteins were proposed to form the protein translocation pore of the ER-associated degradation system, suggesting that they may contribute to pore formation in the presequence translocase of T. brucei. Pulldown of import-arrested mitochondrial carrier protein shows that the carrier translocase shares eight subunits with the presequence translocase. This indicates that T. brucei may have a single IM translocase that with compositional variations mediates import of presequence-containing and carrier proteins.
Project description:The small Tim proteins belong to a group of mitochondrial intermembrane space chaperones that aid in the import of mitochondrial inner membrane proteins with internal targeting signals. Trypanosoma brucei, the protozoan parasite that causes African trypanosomiasis, possesses multiple small Tim proteins that include homologues of T. brucei Tim9 (TbTim9) and Tim10 (TbTim10) and a unique small Tim that shares homology with both Tim8 and Tim13 (TbTim8/13). Here, we found that these three small TbTims are expressed as soluble mitochondrial intermembrane space proteins. Coimmunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry analysis showed that the small TbTims stably associated with each other and with TbTim17, the major component of the mitochondrial inner membrane translocase in T. brucei Yeast two-hybrid analysis indicated direct interactions among the small TbTims; however, their interaction patterns appeared to be different from those of their counterparts in yeast and humans. Knockdown of the small TbTims reduced cell growth and decreased the steady-state level of TbTim17 and T. brucei ADP/ATP carrier (TbAAC), two polytopic mitochondrial inner membrane proteins. Knockdown of small TbTims also reduced the matured complexes of TbTim17 in mitochondria. Depletion of any of the small TbTims reduced TbTim17 import moderately but greatly hampered the stability of the TbTim17 complexes in T. brucei Altogether, our results revealed that TbTim9, TbTim10, and TbTim8/13 interact with each other, associate with TbTim17, and play a crucial role in the integrity and maintenance of the levels of TbTim17 complexes.IMPORTANCETrypanosoma brucei is the causative agent of African sleeping sickness. The parasite's mitochondrion represents a useful source for potential chemotherapeutic targets. Similarly to yeast and humans, mitochondrial functions depend on the import of proteins that are encoded in the nucleus and made in the cytosol. Even though the machinery involved in this mitochondrial protein import process is becoming clearer in T. brucei, a comprehensive picture of protein complex composition and function is still lacking. In this study, we characterized three T. brucei small Tim proteins, TbTim9, TbTim10, and TbTim8/13. Although the parasite does not have the classical TIM22 complex that imports mitochondrial inner membrane proteins containing internal targeting signals in yeast or humans, we found that these small TbTims associate with TbTim17, the major subunit of the TbTIM complex in T. brucei, and play an essential role in the stability of the TbTim17 complexes. Therefore, these divergent proteins are critical for mitochondrial protein biogenesis in T. brucei.
Project description:Trypanosoma brucei is an extracellular parasite that alternates between an insect vector (procyclic form) and the bloodstream of a mammalian host (bloodstream form). While it was previously reported that mitochondrial release factor 1 (TbMrf1) is essential in cultured procyclic form cells, we demonstrate here that in vitro bloodstream form cells can tolerate the elimination of TbMrf1. Therefore, we explored if this discrepancy is due to the unique bioenergetics of the parasite since procyclic form cells rely on oxidative phosphorylation; whereas bloodstream form cells utilize glycolysis for ATP production and FoF1-ATPase to maintain the essential mitochondrial membrane potential. The observed disruption of intact bloodstream form FoF1-ATPases serves as a proxy to indicate that the translation of its mitochondrially encoded subunit A6 is impaired without TbMrf1. While these null mutants have a decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, they have adapted by increasing their dependence on the electrogenic contributions of the ADP/ATP carrier to maintain the mitochondrial membrane potential above the minimum threshold required for T. brucei viability in vitro. However, this inefficient compensatory mechanism results in avirulent mutants in mice. Finally, the depletion of the codon-independent release factor TbPth4 in the TbMrf1 knockouts further exacerbates the characterized mitchondrial phenotypes.
Project description:Mitochondrial processing peptidase (MPP) consists of ? and ? subunits that catalyze the cleavage of N-terminal mitochondrial-targeting sequences (N-MTSs) and deliver preproteins to the mitochondria. In plants, both MPP subunits are associated with the respiratory complex bc1, which has been proposed to represent an ancestral form. Subsequent duplication of MPP subunits resulted in separate sets of genes encoding soluble MPP in the matrix and core proteins (cp1 and cp2) of the membrane-embedded bc1 complex. As only ?-MPP was duplicated in Neurospora, its single ?-MPP functions in both MPP and bc1 complexes. Herein, we investigated the MPP/core protein family and N-MTSs in the kinetoplastid Trypanosoma brucei, which is often considered one of the most ancient eukaryotes. Analysis of N-MTSs predicted in 336 mitochondrial proteins showed that trypanosomal N-MTSs were comparable with N-MTSs from other organisms. N-MTS cleavage is mediated by a standard heterodimeric MPP, which is present in the matrix of procyclic and bloodstream trypanosomes, and its expression is essential for the parasite. Distinct Genes encode cp1 and cp2, and in the bloodstream forms the expression of cp1 is downregulated along with the bc1 complex. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all eukaryotic lineages include members with a Neurospora-type MPP/core protein family, whereas cp1 evolved independently in metazoans, some fungi and kinetoplastids. Evolution of cp1 allowed the independent regulation of respiration and protein import, which is essential for the procyclic and bloodstream forms of T. brucei. These results indicate that T. brucei possesses a highly derived MPP/core protein family that likely evolved in response to its complex life cycle and does not appear to have an ancient character proposed earlier for this eukaryote.
Project description:The mitochondrial genome of Trypanosoma brucei does not contain genes encoding tRNAs; instead this protozoan parasite must import nuclear-encoded tRNAs from the cytosol for mitochondrial translation. Previously, it has been shown that mitochondrial tRNA import requires ATP hydrolysis and a proteinaceous mitochondrial membrane component. However, little is known about the mitochondrial membrane proteins involved in tRNA binding and translocation into the mitochondrion. Here we report the purification of a mitochondrial membrane complex using tRNA affinity purification and have identified several protein components of the putative tRNA translocon by mass spectrometry. Using an in vivo tRNA import assay in combination with RNA interference, we have verified that two of these proteins, Tb11.01.4590 and Tb09.v1.0420, are involved in mitochondrial tRNA import. Using Protein C Epitope -Tobacco Etch Virus-Protein A Epitope (PTP)-tagged Tb11.01.4590, additional associated proteins were identified including Tim17 and other mitochondrial proteins necessary for mitochondrial protein import. Results presented here identify and validate two novel protein components of the putative tRNA translocon and provide additional evidence that mitochondrial tRNA and protein import have shared components in trypanosomes.
Project description:Elucidating the mechanism of action of trypanocidal compounds is an important step in the development of more efficient drugs against Trypanosoma brucei. In a screening approach using an RNAi library in T. brucei bloodstream forms, we identified a member of the mitochondrial carrier family, TbMCP14, as a prime candidate mediating the action of a group of anti-parasitic choline analogs. Depletion of TbMCP14 by inducible RNAi in both bloodstream and procyclic forms increased resistance of parasites towards the compounds by 7-fold and 3-fold, respectively, compared to uninduced cells. In addition, down-regulation of TbMCP14 protected bloodstream form mitochondria from a drug-induced decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential. Conversely, over-expression of the carrier in procyclic forms increased parasite susceptibility more than 13-fold. Metabolomic analyses of parasites over-expressing TbMCP14 showed increased levels of the proline metabolite, pyrroline-5-carboxylate, suggesting a possible involvement of TbMCP14 in energy production. The generation of TbMCP14 knock-out parasites showed that the carrier is not essential for survival of T. brucei bloodstream forms, but reduced parasite proliferation under standard culture conditions. In contrast, depletion of TbMCP14 in procyclic forms resulted in growth arrest, followed by parasite death. The time point at which parasite proliferation stopped was dependent on the major energy source, i.e. glucose versus proline, in the culture medium. Together with our findings that proline-dependent ATP production in crude mitochondria from TbMCP14-depleted trypanosomes was reduced compared to control mitochondria, the study demonstrates that TbMCP14 is involved in energy production in T. brucei. Since TbMCP14 belongs to a trypanosomatid-specific clade of mitochondrial carrier family proteins showing very poor similarity to mitochondrial carriers of mammals, it may represent an interesting target for drug action or targeting.
Project description:Polyadenylation plays an important role in regulating RNA stability in Trypanosoma brucei mitochondria. To date, little is known about the enzymes responsible for the addition of mRNA 3' tails in this system. In this study, we characterize a trypanosome homolog of the human mitochondrial poly(A) polymerase, which we term kPAP2. kPAP2 is mitochondrially localized and expressed in both bloodstream and procyclic form trypanosomes. Targeted gene depletion using RNAi showed that kPAP2 is not required for T. brucei growth in either bloodstream or procyclic life stages, nor is it essential for differentiation from bloodstream to procyclic form. We also demonstrate that steady state abundance of several mitochondrial RNAs was largely unaffected upon kPAP2 down-regulation. Interestingly, mRNA 3' tail analysis of several mRNAs from both life cycle stages in uninduced kPAP2 RNAi cells demonstrated that tail length and uridine content are both regulated in a transcript-specific manner. mRNA-specific tail lengths were maintained upon kPAP2 depletion. However, the percentage of uridine residues in 3' tails was increased, and conversely the percentage of adenosine residues was decreased, in a distinct subset of mRNAs when kPAP2 levels were down-regulated. Thus, kPAP2 apparently contributes to the incorporation of adenosine residues in 3' tails of some, but not all, mitochondrial mRNAs. Together, these data suggest that multiple nucleotidyltransferases act on mitochondrial mRNA 3' ends, and that these enzymes are somewhat redundant and subject to complex regulation.