Isolation of a cDNA encoding the human homolog of COX17, a yeast gene essential for mitochondrial copper recruitment
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The COX17 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae codes for a cytoplasmic protein essential for the expression of functional cytochrome oxidase. This protein has been implicated in targeting copper to mitochondria. To determine if Cox17p is present in mammalian cells, a yeast strain carrying a null mutation in COX17 was transformed with a human cDNA expression library. All the respiratory competent clones obtained from the transformations carried a common cDNA sequence with a reading frame predicting a product homologous to yeast Cox17p. The cloning of a mammalian COX17 homolog suggests that the encoded product is likely to function in copper recruitment in eucaryotic cells in general. Its presence in humans provides a possible target for genetically inherited deficiencies in cytochrome oxidase.
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