Spatiotemporal stop-and-go dynamics of the mitochondrial TOM core complex correlates with channel activity
TOM diffusion is coupled to permeability. Here we show the correlation between lateral protein diffusion and channel activity of the general protein import pore of mitochondria (TOM-CC) in membranes resting on ultrathin hydrogel films. Using electrode-free optical recordings of ion flux, we find that TOM-CC switches reversibly between three states of ion permeability associated with protein diffusion. While freely diffusing TOM-CC molecules are predominantly in a high permeability state, non-mobile molecules are mostly in an intermediate or low permeability state. We explain this behavior by the mechanical binding of the two protruding Tom22 subunits to the hydrogel and a concomitant combinatorial opening and closing of the two β-barrel pores of TOM-CC. TOM-CC could thus represent a β-barrel membrane protein complex to exhibit membrane state-dependent mechanosensitive properties, mediated by its two Tom22 subunits.