Tight knots in proteins: can they block the mitochondrial pores?


Proteins need to be unfolded when translocated through the pores in mitochondrial and other cellular membranes. Knotted proteins, however, might get stuck during this process since the diameter of the pore is smaller than the size of maximally tightened knot. In the present article, I briefly review the experimental and numerical studies of tight knots in proteins, with a particular emphasis on the estimates of the size of these knots. Next, I discuss the process of protein translocation through the mitochondrial pores and report the results of molecular dynamics simulations of knotted protein translocation, which show how the knot can indeed block the pore

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