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FEBS Lett. 1997 Aug 4;412(3):410-4.

Submitochondrial distributions and stabilities of subunits 4, 5, and 6 of yeast cytochrome oxidase in assembly defective mutants.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York 10027, USA.


The concentration and submitochondrial distribution of the subunit polypeptides of cytochrome oxidase have been studied in wild type yeast and in different mutants impaired in assembly of this respiratory complex. All the subunit polypeptides of the enzyme are associated with mitochondrial membranes of wild type cells, except for a small fraction of subunits 4 and 6 that is recovered in the soluble protein fraction of mitochondria. Cytochrome oxidase mutants consistently display a severe reduction in the steady-state concentration of subunit 1 due to its increased turnover. As a consequence, most of subunit 4, which normally is associated with subunit 1, is found in the soluble fraction. A similar shift from membrane-bound to soluble subunit 6 is seen in mutants blocked in expression of subunit 5a. In contrast, null mutations in COX6 coding for subunit 6 promote loss of subunit 5a. The absence of subunit 5a in the cox6 mutant is the result of proteolytic degradation rather than regulation of its expression by subunit 6. The possible role of the ATP-dependent proteases Rca1p and Afg3p in proteolysis of subunits 1 and 5a has been assessed in strains with combined mutations in COX6, RCA1, and/or AFG3. Immunochemical assays indicate that another protease(s) must be responsible for most of the proteolytic loss of these proteins.

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