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Genetics. 2009 Jun;182(2):519-28. doi: 10.1534/genetics.109.101196. Epub 2009 Mar 23.

Translocation and assembly of mitochondrially coded Saccharomyces cerevisiae cytochrome c oxidase subunit Cox2 by Oxa1 and Yme1 in the absence of Cox18.

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Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.


Members of the Oxa1/YidC/Alb3 family of protein translocases are essential for assembly of energy-transducing membrane complexes. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Oxa1 and its paralog, Cox18, are required for assembly of Cox2, a mitochondrially encoded subunit of cytochrome c oxidase. Oxa1 is known to be required for cotranslational export of the Cox2 N-terminal domain across the inner mitochondrial membrane, while Cox18 is known to be required for post-translational export of the Cox2 C-tail domain. We find that overexpression of Oxa1 does not compensate for the absence of Cox18 at the level of respiratory growth. However, it does promote some translocation of the Cox2 C-tail domain across the inner membrane and causes increased accumulation of Cox2, which remains unassembled. This result suggests that Cox18 not only translocates the C-tail, but also must deliver it in a distinct state competent for cytochrome oxidase assembly. We identified respiring mutants from a cox18Delta strain overexpressing OXA1, whose respiratory growth requires overexpression of OXA1. The recessive nuclear mutations allow some assembly of Cox2 into cytochrome c oxidase. After failing to identify these mutations by methods based on transformation, we successfully located them to MGR1 and MGR3 by comparative hybridization to whole-genome tiling arrays and microarray-assisted bulk segregant analysis followed by linkage mapping. While Mgr1 and Mgr3 are known to associate with the Yme1 mitochondrial inner membrane i-AAA protease and to participate in membrane protein degradation, their absence does not appear to stabilize Cox2 under these conditions. Instead, Yme1 probably chaperones the folding and/or assembly of Oxa1-exported Cox2 in the absence of Mrg1 or Mgr3, since respiratory growth and cytochrome c oxidase assembly in a cox18 mgr3 double-mutant strain overexpressing OXA1 is YME1 dependent.

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