Biochemistry, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY, Jan. 2010, p. 172–185 Vol. 30, No. 1


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Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells lacking the cytochrome c oxidase (CcO) assembly factor Coa2 are impaired in Cox1 maturation and exhibit a rapid degradation of newly synthesized Cox1. The respiratory deficiency of coa2 Δ cells is suppressed either by the presence of a mutant allele of the Cox10 farnesyl transferase involved in heme a biosynthesis or through impaired proteolysis by the disruption of the mitochondrial Oma1 protease. Cox10 with an N196K substitution functions as a robust gain-of-function suppressor of the respiratory deficiency of coa2 Δ cells but lacks suppressor activity for two other CcO assembly mutant strains, the coa1 Δ and shy1 Δ mutants. The suppressor activity of N196K mutant Cox10 is dependent on its catalytic function and the presence of Cox15, the second enzyme involved in heme a biosynthesis. Varying the substitution at Asn196 reveals a correlation between the suppressor activity and the stabilization of the high-mass homo-oligomeric Cox10 complex. We postulate that the mutant Cox10 complex has enhanced efficiency in the addition of heme a to Cox1. Coa2 appears to impart stability to the oligomeric wild-type Cox10 complex involved in Cox1 hemylation.