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Conserved properties of hydrogenosomal and mitochondrial ADP/ATP carriers: a common origin for both organelles

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor T. Martin Embley FMedSci FRS


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Mitochondria are one of the hallmarks of eukaryotic cells, exporting ATP in exchange for cytosolic ADP using ADP/ATP carriers (AAC) located in the inner mitochondrial membrane. In contrast, several evolutionarily important anaerobic eukaryotes lack mitochondria but contain hydrogenosomes, peculiar organelles of controversial ancestry that also supply ATP but, like some fermentative bacteria, make molecular hydrogen in the process. We have now identified genes from two species of the hydrogenosome-containing fungus Neocallimastix that have three-fold sequence repeats and signature motifs that, along with phylogenetic analysis, identify them as AACs. When expressed in a mitochondrial AAC- deficient yeast strain, the hydrogenosomal protein was correctly targeted to the yeast mitochondria inner membrane and yielded mitochondria able to perform ADP/ATP exchange. Characteristic inhibitors of mitochondrial AACs blocked adenine nucleotide exchange by the Neocallimastix protein. Thus, our data demonstrate that fungal hydrogenosomes and yeast mitochondria use the same pathway for ADP/ATP exchange. These experiments provide some of the strongest evidence yet that yeast mitochondria and Neocallimastix hydrogenosomes are but two manifestations of the same fundamental organelle.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Embley TM; van der Giezen M; Slotboom DJ; Horner DS; Dyal PL; Harding M; Xue GP; Kunji ER

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The EMBO Journal

Year: 2002

Volume: 21

Issue: 4

Pages: 572-579

ISSN (print): 0261-4189

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2075

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1093/emboj/21.4.572


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