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Cryo-EM structure of human mitochondrial trifunctional protein

The mitochondrial trifunctional protein (TFP) catalyzes three reactions in the fatty acid β-oxidation process. Mutations in the two TFP subunits cause mitochondrial trifunctional protein deficiency and acute fatty liver of pregnancy that can lead to death. Here we report a 4.2-Å cryo-electron microscopy α2β2 tetrameric structure of the human TFP. The tetramer has a V-shaped architecture that displays a distinct assembly compared with the bacterial TFPs. A concave surface of the TFP tetramer interacts with the detergent molecules in the structure, suggesting that this region is involved in associating with the membrane. Deletion of a helical hairpin in TFPβ decreases its binding to the liposomes in vitro and reduces its membrane targeting in cells.