doi:10.1038/nindia.2010.36 Published online 23 March 2010
A protein essential for development in higher animals plays a critical role in transport of proteins across the mitochondrial membrane and in the creation of the cell's powerhouse — the mitochondria — according to new research .
Not much is known about the cellular function of this protein — Magmas, a conserved mammalian protein essential for eukaryotic development and overexpressed in tumors of the prostate gland.
A research team form Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore has shown that, human Magmas is critical for protein translocation across the mitochondrial inner membrane. They report that Magmas localizes into mitochondria and is associated with inner mitochondrial membrane 'translocation channel' in yeast and humans.
In humans, absence of a functional gene — DnaJC19 — leads to a genetic disorder (dilated cardiac myophathic syndrome or DCM), with characteristic features of cardiac myophathy and neurodegeneration.
The researchers propose that mutations that result in decreased stability of a functional subcomplex between Magmas and DnaJC19 (Magmas:DnaJC19) hamper the import of mitochondrial proteins and cellular respiration in DCM patients.