IFIB – Interfakultäres Institut für Biochemie

Rapaport group - mitochondrial biogenesis & dynamics

The mitochondrial outer membrane plays a crucial role in the biogenesis, inheritance and dynamics of the organelle and forms the functional and signaling link between mitochondria and the rest of the eukaryotic cell. This membrane contains a diverse set of proteins that are synthesized in the cytosol and harbor signals that are essential for their subsequent import into mitochondria. We investigate the molecular mechanisms by which the various mitochondrial outer membrane proteins are targeted to mitochondria, inserted into the outer membrane and assembled into functional complexes within the membrane. In addition, we study the mechanisms and components that regulate lipids homeostasis in mitochondria. For our studies we use both yeast and mammalian tissue cultures as experimental systems.

Research Topics

  • Biogenesis of mitochondrial and bacterial β-barrel proteins
  • Cytosolic factors that mediate targeting of mitochondrial precursor proteins
  • Membrane integration of mitochondrial outer membrane helical proteins
  • Lipid homeostasis in mitochondria

News & Jobs

8 PhD positions available

MOMbrane: The multifaceted functions and dynamics of the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM)

We are looking for highly motivated candidates holding a Master degree in biology, biochemistry, molecular medicine, cell biology, biophysics, or a similar program.
The PhD students will join our DFG funded Research Training Group (RTG):
The aim of our RTG is to achieve comprehensive understanding of the structure, function, regulation, and biogenesis of the mitochondrial outer membrane.  We employ a multidisciplinary approach including disease models, molecular cell biology, proteomics, biotechnology, and biophysics.
More information

Neu entdecktes Transportsignal dirigiert Proteine innerhalb der Zelle zu den Mitochondrien - 6/2016

Tübinger Forscher untersuchen den komplizierten Zusammenbau dieser lebenswichtigen Zellorganellen.



Biochemist of the University of Tübingen discover a new mitochondrial import pathway - 8/2011

New insights into the workings of the power plant of the cells

Mitochondria are an ancient cooperation of our nucleated cells and incorporated bacteria. They provide us with energy but are no longer independently viable with many of their proteins having been exported to the nuclear genome. The re-import of these proteins is crucial for proper function. Doron Rapaport and co-workers of the IFIB discovered a new way for a group of proteins to be inserted into the mitochondrial membrane. These findings help explain how mitochondria are correctly assembled and maintained, a process that is essential to avoid diseases. (Scientific paper) (Press release German)