Many eukaryotic proteins exert their physiological function in specific cellular compartments. Proteins of the inter-membrane space (IMS) of mitochondria, for example, are synthesized in the cytoplasm and translocate to the IMS, where they are further processed to their mature form. In-cell Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) has proven to be an ideal approach to investigate eukaryotic proteins at the atomic level, inside the cytoplasm. Here we show that proteins inside intact mitochondria isolated from human cells can be structurally characterized by NMR (in-mitochondria NMR). By this approach, we characterized the folding and maturation state of two human proteins in the IMS, SOD1 and Mia40. Both observed proteins were in the folded state. Mia40 was in the oxidized, functional state, while SOD1 disulfide bond formation was promoted by increasing the level of the SOD1 chaperone, CCS, in the IMS.
Structural insights of proteins in sub-cellular compartments: In-mitochondria NMR / Letizia Barbieri; Enrico Luchinat; Lucia Banci. - In: BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-MOLECULAR CELL RESEARCH. - ISSN 0167-4889. - STAMPA. - 1843:(2014), pp. 2492-2496. [10.1016/j.bbamcr.2014.06.009]