Defective mitochondrial protein translocation precludes normal Caenorhabditis elegans development

Sean P. Curran, Edward P. Leverich, Carla M. Koehler, Pamela L. Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


We demonstrate biochemically that the genes identified by sequence similarity as orthologs of the mitochondrial import machinery are functionally conserved in Caenorhabditis elegans. Specifically, tin-9.1 and tin-10 RNA interference (RNAi) treatment of nematodes impairs import of the ADP/ATP carrier into isolated mitochondria. Developmental phenotypes are associated with gene knock-down of the mitochondrial import components. RNAi of tomm-7 and ddp-1 resulted in mitochondria with an interconnected morphology in vivo, presumably due to defects in the assembly of outer membrane fission/fusion components. RNAi of the small Tim proteins TIN-9.1, TIN-9.2, and TIN-10 resulted in a small body size, reduced number of progeny produced, and partial embryonic lethality. An additional phenotype of the tin-9.2(RNAi) animals is defective formation of the somatic gonad. The biochemical demonstration that the protein import activity is reduced, under the same conditions that yield the defects in specific tissues and lethality in a later generation, suggests that the developmental abnormalities observed are a consequence of defects in mitochondrial inner membrane biogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54655-54662
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 24 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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