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J Biol Chem. 2002 Aug 23;277(34):31237-42. Epub 2002 Jun 12.

Yeast Cox11, a protein essential for cytochrome c oxidase assembly, is a Cu(I)-binding protein.

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


Cox11 is a protein essential for respiratory growth and has been implicated in the assembly of the Cu(B) site of cytochrome c oxidase. In the present study, we demonstrate that Cox11 is a copper-binding protein. The soluble C-terminal domain of Cox11 forms a dimer that coordinates one Cu(I) per monomer via three thiolate ligands. The two Cu(I) ions in the dimer exist in a binuclear cluster and appear to be ligated by three conserved Cys residues. Mutation of any of these Cys residues reduces Cu(I) binding and confers respiratory incompetence. Cytochrome c oxidase activity is reduced in these mutants. Thus, the residues important for Cu(I) binding correlate with in vivo function, suggesting that Cu(I) binding is important in Cox11 function.

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