The peptidases involved in plant mitochondrial protein import

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The endosymbiotic origin of the mitochondrion and the subsequent transfer of its genome to the host nucleus has resulted in intricate mechanisms of regulating mitochondrial biogenesis and protein content. The majority of mitochondrial proteins are nuclear encoded and synthesized in the cytosol, thus requiring specialized and dedicated machinery for the correct targeting import and sorting of its proteome. Most proteins targeted to the mitochondria utilize N-terminal targeting signals called presequences that are cleaved upon import. This cleavage is carried out by a variety of peptidases, generating free peptides that can be detrimental to organellar and cellular activity. Research over the last few decades has elucidated a range of mitochondrial peptidases that are involved in the initial removal of the targeting signal and its sequential degradation, allowing for the recovery of single amino acids. The significance of these processing pathways goes beyond presequence degradation after protein import, whereby the deletion of processing peptidases induces plant stress responses, compromises mitochondrial respiratory capability, and alters overall plant growth and development. Here, we review the multitude of plant mitochondrial peptidases that are known to be involved in protein import and processing of targeting signals to detail how their activities can affect organellar protein homeostasis and overall plant growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6005-6018
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


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