Disulfide Bond Formation: Sulfhydryl Oxidase ALR Controls Mitochondrial Biogenesis of Human MIA40

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The conserved MIA pathway is responsible for the import and oxidative folding of proteins destined for the intermembrane space of mitochondria. In contrast to a wealth of information obtained from studies with yeast, the function of the MIA pathway in higher eukaryotes has remained enigmatic. Here, we took advantage of the molecular understanding of the MIA pathway in yeast and designed a model of the human MIA pathway. The yeast model for MIA consists of two critical components, the disulfide bond carrier Mia40 and sulfhydryl oxidase Erv1/ALR. Human MIA40 and ALR substituted for their yeast counterparts in the essential function for the oxidative biogenesis of mitochondrial intermembrane space proteins. In addition, the sulfhydryl oxidases ALR/Erv1 were found to be involved in the mitochondrial localization of human MIA40. Furthermore, the defective accumulation of human MIA40 in mitochondria underlies a recently identified disease that is caused by amino acid exchange in ALR. Thus, human ALR is an important factor that controls not only the ability of MIA40 to bind and oxidize protein clients but also the localization of human MIA40 in mitochondria.

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