1Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, Bayliss Building M316, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley 6009, Western Australia, Australia2Department of Botany, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, School of Life Science, La Trobe University, Bundoora 3083, Victoria, Australia
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In the 2 billion years since the endosymbiotic event that gave rise to mitochondria, variations in mitochondrial protein import have evolved across different species. With the genomes of an increasing number of plant species sequenced, it is possible to gain novel insights into mitochondrial protein import pathways. We have generated the Mitochondrial Protein Import Components (MPIC) Database (DB; http://www.plantenergy.uwa.edu.au/applications/mpic) providing searchable information on the protein import apparatus of plant and non-plant mitochondria. An in silico analysis was carried out, comparing the mitochondrial protein import apparatus from 24 species representing various lineages from Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) and algae to Homo sapiens (human) and higher plants, including Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis), Oryza sativa (rice) and other more recently sequenced plant species. Each of these species was extensively searched and manually assembled for analysis in the MPIC DB. The database presents an interactive diagram in a user-friendly manner, allowing users to select their import component of interest. The MPIC DB presents an extensive resource facilitating detailed investigation of the mitochondrial protein import machinery and allowing patterns of conservation and divergence to be recognized that would otherwise have been missed. To demonstrate the usefulness of the MPIC DB, we present a comparative analysis of the mitochondrial protein import machinery in plants and non-plant species, revealing plant-specific features that have evolved.