The precursor form of Neurospora crassa mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier synthesized in a cell-free protein-synthesizing system can be imported into isolated mitochondria. If the mitochondrial transmembrane potential is abolished, import does not occur but the precursor binds to the mitochondrial surface. Upon reestablishment of the membrane potential, the bound precursor is imported. This occurs without dissociation of the bound precursor from the mitochondrial surface. We conclude that the binding observed represents an interaction with receptor sites and thus is an early step in the import pathway.