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J Biol Chem. 2000 Apr 14;275(15):11075-81.

Structure, functioning, and assembly of the ATP synthase in cells from patients with the T8993G mitochondrial DNA mutation. Comparison with the enzyme in Rho(0) cells completely lacking mtdna.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-1229, USA.


The structure and functioning of the ATP synthase of human fibroblast cell lines with 91 and 100%, respectively, of the T8993G mutation have been studied, with MRC5 human fibroblasts and Rho(0) cells derived from this cell line as controls. ATP hydrolysis was normal but ATP synthesis was reduced by 60% in the 100% mutants. Both activities were highly oligomycin-sensitive. The levels of F(1)F(0) were close to normal, and the enzyme was stable. It is concluded that the loss of ATP synthesis is because of disruption of the proton translocation step within the F(0) part. This is supported by membrane potential measurements using the dye JC-1. Cells with a 91% mutation load grew well and showed only a 25% loss in ATP synthesis. This much reduced effect for only a 9% difference in mutation load mirrors the reduced pathogenicity in patients. F(1)F(0) has been purified for the first time from human cell lines. A partial complex was obtained from Rho(0) cells containing the F(1) subunits associated with several stalk, as well as F(0) subunits, including oligomycin sensitivity conferring protein, b, and c subunits. This partial complex no longer binds inhibitor protein.

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