Cluster of Excellence –
University of Freiburg

PD Dr. Thomas Becker

PD Dr. Thomas Becker

Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Freiburg

+49 761 203 5243


Mitochondria fulfil central roles for the viability of the eukaryotic cell. The vast majority of mitochondrial proteins are synthesized on cytosolic ribosomes and imported across two surrounding membranes into the organelle. Subsequent protein folding and quality control are crucial functions to maintain mitochondrial function. Whereas in the mitochondrial matrix and inner membrane several molecular players are described, we are at the beginning to understand the pathways and mechanisms that govern protein biogenesis and stability in the outer membrane. We will use a combination of in vivo, in organello and in vitro studies to analyse the protein homeostasis in the outer membrane of yeast mitochondria.


10 selected publications


  • Membrane protein insertion through a mitochondrial beta-barrel gate
    Höhr AIC, Lindau C, Wirth C, Qiu J, Stroud DA, Kutik S, Guiard B, Hunte C, Becker T, Pfanner N, Wiedemann N. (2018).
    Science 359, eaah6834.
  • Identification of new channels by systematic analysis of the mitochondrial outer membrane.
    Krüger V*, Becker T*, Becker L, Montilla-Martinez M, Ellenrieder L, Vögtle FN, Meyer H, Ryan M, Wiedemann N, Warscheid B, Pfanner N, Wagner R, Meisinger C (2017).
    J. Cell Biol. 216, 3485-3495
    (*equal contribution)
  • Separating mitochondrial protein assembly and endoplasmic reticulum tethering by selective coupling of Mdm10.
    Ellenrieder L, Opalinski L, Becker L, Krüger V, Mirus O, Straub SP, Ebell K, Flinner N, Stiller SB, Guiard B, Meisinger C, Wiedemann N, Schleiff E, Wagner R, Pfanner N, Becker T. (2016)
    Nat. Commun. 7, 13021.
  • MOF acetyl transferase regulates transcription and respiration in mitochondria.
    Chatterjee A, Seyfferth J, Lucci J, Gilsbach R, Preissl S, Böttinger L, Mårtensson CU, Panhale A, Stehle T, Kretz O, Sahyoun AH, Avilov S, Eimer S, Hein L, Pfanner N, Becker T, Akhtar A. (2016)
    Cell 167, 722-738.
  • Sam37 is crucial for formation of the mitochondrial TOM-SAM supercomplex, thereby promoting beta-barrel biogenesis. br />Wenz LS, Ellenrieder L, Qiu J, Bohnert M, Zufall N, van der Laan M, Pfanner N, Wiedemann N, Becker T. (2015)
    J. Cell. Biol. 210, 1047-1054.
  • The presequence pathway is involved in protein sorting to the mitochondrial outer membrane.
    Wenz LS, Opalinski L, Schuler MH, Ellenrieder L, Ieva R, Böttinger L, Qiu J, van der Laan M, Wiedemann N, Guiard B, Pfanner N, Becker T. (2014)
    EMBO Rep. 15, 678-685.
  • Coupling of mitochondrial import and export translocases by receptor-mediated supercomplex formation.
    Qiu J, Wenz LS, Zerbes RM, Oeljeklaus S. Bohnert M, Stroud DA, Wirth C, Ellenrieder L, Thornton N, Kutik S, Wiese S, Schulze-Specking A, Zufall N, Chacinska A, Guiard B, Hunte C, Warscheid B, van der Laan M, Pfanner N, Wiedemann N, Becker T. (2013)
    Cell 154, 596-608.
  • Common ground for protein translocation: access control for mitochondria and chloroplasts.
    Schleiff E, Becker T. (2011)
    Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 12, 48-59.
  • The mitochondrial import protein Mim1 promotes biogenesis of multi-spanning outer membrane proteins.
    Becker T, Wenz LS, Krüger V, Lehmann W, Müller JM, Goroncy L, Zufall N, Lithgow T, Guiard B, Chacinska A, Wagner R, Meisinger C, Pfanner N. (2011)
    J. Cell Biol. 194, 387-395.
  • The molecular chaperone Hsp90 delivers precursor proteins to the chloroplast import receptor Toc64.
    Qbadou S*, Becker T*, Mirus O, Sohrt K, Tews I, Soll J, Schleiff E.
    (2006) EMBO J. 25, 1836-1847.
    (*equal contribution)