Mutational Analysis of the Mitochondrial Copper Metallochaperone Cox17
Journal of Biological Chemistry
The copper metallochaperone Cox17 is proposed to shuttle Cu(I) ions to the mitochondrion for the assembly of cytochrome c oxidase. The Cu(I) ions are liganded by cysteinyl thiolates. Mutational analysis on the yeast Cox17 reveals three of the seven cysteinyl residues to be critical for Cox17 function, and these three residues are present in a Cys-Cys-Xaa-Cys sequence motif. Single substitution of any of these three cysteines with serines results in a nonfunctional cytochrome oxidase complex.
... oxidase complex. Cells harboring such a mutation fail to grow on nonfermentable carbon sources and have no cytochrome c oxidase activity in isolated mitochondria. Wild-type Cox17 purified as untagged protein binds three Cu(I) ions/molecule. Mutant proteins lacking only one of these critical Cys residues retain the ability to bind three Cu(I) ions and are imported within the mitochondria. In contrast, Cox17 molecules with a double Cys 3 Ser mutation exhibit no Cu(I) binding but are still localized to the mitochondria. Thus, mitochondrial uptake of Cox17 is not restricted to the Cu(I) conformer of Cox17. COX17 was originally cloned by virtue of complementation of a mutant containing a nonfunctional Cys 3 Tyr substitution at codon 57. The mutant C57Y Cox17 fails to accumulate within the mitochondria but retains the ability to bind three Cu(I) ions. A C57S Cox17 variant is functional, and a quadruple Cox17 mutant with C16S/C36S/C47S/C57S substitutions binds three Cu(I) ions. Thus, only three cysteinyl residues are important for the ligation of three Cu(I) ions. A novel mode of Cu(I) binding is predicted.