The TIM22 complex mediates the import of hydrophobic carrier proteins into the mitochondrial inner membrane. While the TIM22 machinery has been well characterised in yeast, the human complex remains poorly characterised. Here, we identify Tim29 (C19orf52) as a novel, metazoan-specific subunit of the human TIM22 complex. The protein is integrated into the mitochondrial inner membrane with it's C-terminus exposed to the intermembrane space. Tim29 is required for the stability of the TIM22 complex and functions in the assembly of the hTim22. Furthermore, Tim29 contacts the Translocase of the Outer Mitochondrial Membrane, TOM complex, enabling a mechanism for transport of hydrophobic carrier substrates across the aqueous intermembrane space. Identification of Tim29 highlights the significance of analysing mitochondrial import systems across phylogenetic boundaries, which can reveal novel components and mechanisms in higher organisms.
The authors declare that there was no funding for this work
- Nikolaus Pfanner, University of Freiburg, Germany
© 2016, Kang et al.
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Pancreatic a-cells secrete glucagon, an insulin counter-regulatory peptide hormone critical for the maintenance of glucose homeostasis. Investigation of the function of human a-cells remains a challenge due to the lack of cost-effective purification methods to isolate high-quality a-cells from islets. Here, we use the reaction-based probe diacetylated Zinpyr1 (DA-ZP1) to introduce a novel and simple method for enriching live a-cells from dissociated human islet cells with ~ 95% purity. The a-cells, confirmed by sorting and immunostaining for glucagon, were cultured up to 10 days to form a-pseudoislets. The a-pseudoislets could be maintained in culture without significant loss of viability, and responded to glucose challenge by secreting appropriate levels of glucagon. RNA-sequencing analyses (RNA-seq) revealed that expression levels of key a-cell identity genes were sustained in culture while some of the genes such as DLK1, GSN, SMIM24 were altered in a-pseudoislets in a time-dependent manner. In conclusion, we report a method to sort human primary a-cells with high purity that can be used for downstream analyses such as functional and transcriptional studies.
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