, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 138-145

Molecular and biochemical analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cox1 mutants

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We report on the molecular and biochemical analysis of a set of 13 respiratory deficient mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae which are specifically altered in COX1, the gene encoding the subunit Cox1p of cytochrome c oxidase. DNA sequence analysis shows that three are due to frameshift mutations, two to nonsense mutations, and eight to missense mutations. All, except the missense mutant S157L, have impaired electron transfer and respiratory activity. Analysis of the mitochondrial translation products shows that when Cox1p is absent, Cox2p and Cox3p are still synthesized. In the missense mutants, the steady state levels in the mitochondrial membranes of the three mitochondrially encoded subunits Cox1p, Cox2p and Cox3p and the nuclear-encoded subunit Cox4p are reduced. In the frameshift and nonsense mutants, Cox1p is absent and Cox2p, Cox3p and Cox4p are considerably decreased or undetectable. A comparison of the steady state levels of Cox1p through Cox4p in the COX1, COX2, COX3 and COX4 mutants shows the interdependance of the accumulation of these four subunits in the mitochondrial membranes.