Cox11 is an intrinsic mitochondrial membrane protein essential for the assembly of an active cytochrome c oxidase complex. Cox11 is tethered to the mitochondrial inner membrane by a single transmembrane helix. Domain mapping was carried out to determine the functional segments of the Cox11 protein. The C-terminal 189 residue Cu(I)-binding domain is shown to be exposed within the mitochondrial intermembrane space. This orientation was demonstrated by the proteolytic susceptibility of a C-terminal Myc epitope tag in mitoplasts but not intact mitochondria. Fusion of the N terminus of Cox11 to the matrix ribosomal protein Rsm22 results in a functional protein capable of suppressing the respiratory defect of both Δcox11 cells and Δrsm22 cells. The functionality of the fusion protein suggests that the Cox11 N terminus projects into the matrix. The fusion of the C-terminal segment of Cox11 to Rsm22 resembles a naturally occurring fusion of Cox11 in Schizosaccharomyces pombe to a sequence homologous to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rsm22. Studies on a series of SCO1/COX11 chimeras reveal that the matrix domain of Cox11 lacks a specific function, whereas the Cu(I) binding/donating function requires the yeast Cox11 sequence. The Cu(I)-binding domain from human Cox11 cannot functionally replace the yeast sequence. The copper domain of Cox11 may be an important docking motif for Cox1 or a Cox1-associated protein.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology