Independent accretion of TIM22 complex subunits in the animal and fungal lineages

Jeremy G. Wideman, Sergio A. Muñoz-Gómez, Shannon N. Snyder, Samantha J. Montoya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: The mitochondrial protein import complexes arose early in eukaryogenesis. Most of the components of the protein import pathways predate the last eukaryotic common ancestor. For example, the carrier-insertase TIM22 complex comprises the widely conserved Tim22 channel core. However, the auxiliary components of fungal and animal TIM22 complexes are exceptions to this ancient conservation. Methods: Using comparative genomics and phylogenetic approaches, we identified precisely when each TIM22 accretion occurred. Results: In animals, we demonstrate that Tim29 and Tim10b arose early in the holozoan lineage. Tim29 predates the metazoan lineage being present in the animal sister lineages, choanoflagellate and filastereans, whereas the erroneously named Tim10b arose from a duplication of Tim9 at the base of metazoans. In fungi, we show that Tim54 has representatives present in every holomycotan lineage including microsporidians and fonticulids, whereas Tim18 and Tim12 appeared much later in fungal evolution. Specifically, Tim18 and Tim12 arose from duplications of Sdh3 and Tim10, respectively, early in the Saccharomycotina. Surprisingly, we show that Tim54 is distantly related to AGK suggesting that AGK and Tim54 are extremely divergent orthologues and the origin of AGK/Tim54 interaction with Tim22 predates the divergence of animals and fungi. Conclusions: We argue that the evolutionary history of the TIM22 complex is best understood as the neutral structural divergence of an otherwise strongly functionally conserved protein complex. This view suggests that many of the differences in structure/subunit composition of multi-protein complexes are non-adaptive. Instead, most of the phylogenetic variation of functionally conserved molecular machines, which have been under stable selective pressures for vast phylogenetic spans, such as the TIM22 complex, is most likely the outcome of the interplay of random genetic drift and mutation pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1060
StatePublished - 2020


  • Mitochondrial evolution
  • Mitochondrial protein import
  • Neutral evolution
  • TIM22 complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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