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EMBO J. 2004 Sep 1;23(17):3472-82. Epub 2004 Aug 12.

Mss51p and Cox14p jointly regulate mitochondrial Cox1p expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


Mutations in SURF1, the human homologue of yeast SHY1, are responsible for Leigh's syndrome, a neuropathy associated with cytochrome oxidase (COX) deficiency. Previous studies of the yeast model of this disease showed that mutant forms of Mss51p, a translational activator of COX1 mRNA, partially rescue the COX deficiency of shy1 mutants by restoring normal synthesis of the mitochondrially encoded Cox1p subunit of COX. Here we present evidence showing that Cox1p synthesis is reduced in most COX mutants but is restored to that of wild type by the same mss51 mutation that suppresses shy1 mutants. An important exception is a null mutation in COX14, which by itself or in combination with other COX mutations does not affect Cox1p synthesis. Cox14p and Mss51p are shown to interact with newly synthesized Cox1p and with each other. We propose that the interaction of Mss51p and Cox14p with Cox1p to form a transient Cox14p-Cox1p-Mss51p complex functions to downregulate Cox1p synthesis. The release of Mss51p from the complex occurs at a downstream step in the assembly pathway, probably catalyzed by Shy1p.

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