The assembly of the copper sites in cytochrome c oxidase involves a series of accessory proteins, including Cox11, Cox17, and Sco1. The two mitochondrial inner membrane proteins Cox11 and Sco1 are thought to be copper donors to the CuB and CuA sites of cytochrome oxidase, respectively, whereas Cox17 is believed to be the copper donor to Sco1 within the intermembrane space. In this report we show Cox17 is a specific copper donor to both Sco1 and Cox11. Using in vitro studies with purified proteins, we demonstrate direct copper transfer from CuCox17 to Sco1 or Cox11. The transfer is specific because no transfer occurs to heterologous proteins, including bovine serum albumin and carbonic anhydrase. In addition, a C57Y mutant of Cox17 fails to transfer copper to Sco1 but is competent for copper transfer to Cox11. The in vitro transfer studies were corroborated by a yeast cytoplasm expression system. Soluble domains of Sco1 and Cox11, lacking the mitochondrial targeting sequence and transmembrane domains, were expressed in the yeast cytoplasm. Metallation of these domains was strictly dependent on the co-expression of Cox17. Thus, Cox17 represents a novel copper chaperone that delivers copper to two proteins.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology