The following images illustrate
the basic stages involved in transporting proteins from the cytoplasm of a cell into the mitochondria.
Our goal is to emphasize the key steps in this process. Clicking
on each of the thumbnail images will bring up a larger, labeled
version of the described scene.
see the Flash movie for the following sequence of images,
Most mitochondrial proteins are made in the cytoplasm of the cell, outside of the mitochondria.
Specialized proteins, called chaperones, guide the protein through the cytoplasm to the mitochondria.
The protein is then transported into the mitochondria through special pores in the double membrane.
Once inside, the protein is processed and folded into its final shape.
After being formed into its final shape, the protein is ready to preform its proper function inside the mitochondria.