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Eur J Biochem. 2000 Nov;267(21):6443-51.

Topology and proximity relationships of yeast mitochondrial ATP synthase subunit 8 determined by unique introduced cysteine residues.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.


We have used site-directed chemical labelling to demonstrate the membrane topology and to identify neighbouring subunits of subunit 8 (Y8) in yeast mitochondrial ATP synthase (mtATPase). Unique cysteine residues were introduced at the N or C-terminus of Y8 by site-directed mutagenesis. Expression and targeting to mitochondria in vivo of each of these variants in a yeast Y8 null mutant was able to restore activity to an otherwise nonfunctional ATP synthase complex. The position of each introduced cysteine relative to the inner mitochondrial membrane was probed with thiol-specific nonpermeant and permeant reagents in both intact and lysed mitochondria. The data indicate that the N-terminus of Y8 is located in the intermembrane space of mitochondria whereas the C-terminus is located within the mitochondrial matrix. The proximity of Y8 to other proteins of mtATPase was tested using heterobifunctional cross-linking reagents, each with one thiol-specific reactive group and one nonspecific, photoactivatible reactive group. These experiments revealed the proximity of the C-terminal domain of Y8 to subunits d and f, and that of the N-terminal domain to subunit f. It is concluded that Y8 possesses a single transmembrane domain which extends across the inner membrane of intact mitochondria. As subunit d is a likely component of the stator stalk of mitochondrial ATP synthase, we propose, on the basis of the observed cross-links, that Y8 may also be part of the stator stalk.

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