Targeting, import and dimerization of a mammalian mitochondrial ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter, ABCB10 (ABC-me)

Solomon A. Graf, Sarah E. Haigh, Erica D. Corson, Orian S. Shirihai

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ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters are a diverse superfamily of energy-dependent membrane translocases. Although responsible for the majority of transmembrane transport in bacteria, they are relatively uncommon in eukaryotic mitochondria. Organellar trafficking and import, in addition to quaternary structure assembly, of mitochondrial ABC transporters is poorly understood and may offer explanations for the paucity of their diversity. Here we examine these processes in ABCB10 (ABC-me), a mitochondrial inner membrane erythroid transporter involved in heme biosynthesis. We report that ABCB10 possesses an unusually long 105-amino acid mitochondrial targeting presequence (mTP). The central subdomain of the mTP (amino acids (aa) 36-70) is sufficient for mitochondrial import of enhanced green fluorescent protein. The N-terminal subdomain (aa 1-35) of the mTP, although not necessary for the trafficking of ABCB10 to mitochondria, participates in the proper import of the molecule into the inner membrane. We performed a series of amino acid mutations aimed at changing specific properties of the mTP. The mTP requires neither arginine residues nor predictable á-helices for efficient mitochondrial targeting. Disruption of its hydrophobic character by the mutation L46Q/ I47Q, however, greatly diminishes its efficacy. This mutation can be rescued by cryptic downstream (aa 106-715) mitochondrial targeting signals, highlighting the redundancy of this protein's targeting qualities. Mass spectrometry analysis of chemically cross-linked, immunoprecipitated ABCB10 indicates that ABCB10 embedded in the mitochondrial inner membrane homodimerizes and homo-oligomerizes. A deletion mutant of ABCB10 that lacks its inTP efficiently targets to the endoplasmic reticulum. Quaternary structure assembly of ABCB10 in the EB appears to be similar to that in the mitochondria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42954-42963
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number41
StatePublished - 8 Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


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