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J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 2;279(14):14447-55. Epub 2004 Jan 16.

Yeast contain a non-proteinaceous pool of copper in the mitochondrial matrix.

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  • 1University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132, USA.


The yeast mitochondrion is shown to contain a pool of copper that is distinct from that associated with the two known mitochondrial cuproenzymes, superoxide dismutase (Sod1) and cytochrome c oxidase (CcO) and the copper-binding CcO assembly proteins Cox11, Cox17, and Sco1. Only a small fraction of mitochondrial copper is associated with these cuproproteins. The bulk of the remainder is localized within the matrix as a soluble, anionic, low molecular weight complex. The identity of the matrix copper ligand is unknown, but the bulk of the matrix copper fraction is not protein-bound. The mitochondrial copper pool is dynamic, responding to changes in the cytosolic copper level. The addition of copper salts to the growth medium leads to an increase in mitochondrial copper, yet the expansion of this matrix pool does not induce any respiration defects. The matrix copper pool is accessible to a heterologous cuproenzyme. Co-localization of human Sod1 and the metallochaperone CCS within the mitochondrial matrix results in suppression of growth defects of sod2Delta cells. However, in the absence of CCS within the matrix, the activation of human Sod1 can be achieved by the addition of copper salts to the growth medium.

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