A yeast suppressor screen links Coa4 to the mitochondrial copper delivery pathway for cytochrome c oxidase. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cytochrome c oxidase (CcO) is a multimeric copper-containing enzyme of the mitochondrial respiratory chain that powers cellular energy production. The two core subunits of cytochrome c oxidase, Cox1 and Cox2, harbor the catalytic CuB and CuA sites, respectively. Biogenesis of each copper site occurs separately and requires multiple proteins that constitute the mitochondrial copper delivery pathway. Currently, the identity of all the members of the pathway is not known, though several evolutionarily conserved twin CX9C motif-containing proteins have been implicated in this process. Here, we performed a targeted yeast suppressor screen that placed Coa4, a twin CX9C motif-containing protein, in the copper delivery pathway to the Cox1 subunit. Specifically, we show that overexpression of Cox11, a copper metallochaperone required for the formation of CuB site, can restore Cox1 abundance, cytochrome c oxidase assembly, and mitochondrial respiration in coa4 cells. This rescue is dependent on the copper-coordinating cysteines of Cox11. The abundance of Coa4 and Cox11 in mitochondria is reciprocally regulated, further linking Coa4 to the CuB site biogenesis. Additionally, we find that coa4 cells have reduced levels of copper and exogenous copper supplementation can partially ameliorate its respiratory-deficient phenotype, a finding that connects Coa4 to cellular copper homeostasis. Finally, we demonstrate that human COA4 can replace the function of yeast Coa4 indicating its evolutionarily conserved role. Our work provides genetic evidences for the role of Coa4 in the copper delivery pathway to the CuB site of cytochrome c oxidase.

published proceedings

  • Genetics

altmetric score

  • 6.7

author list (cited authors)

  • Swaminathan, A. B., Soma, S., Vicary, A. C., Zulkifli, M., Kaur, H., & Gohil, V. M.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Swaminathan, Abhinav B||Soma, Shivatheja||Vicary, Alison C||Zulkifli, Mohammad||Kaur, Harman||Gohil, Vishal M

editor list (cited editors)

  • Kaplan, C.

publication date

  • July 2022