Assembly of the Rotor Component of Yeast Mitochondrial ATP Synthase is Enhanced when Atp9p is Supplied by Atp9p-Cox6p Complexes [Gene Regulation]

September 24th, 2014 by Su, C. H., McStay, G. P., Tzagoloff, A.

The Atp9p ring is one of several assembly modules of yeast mitochondrial ATP synthase. The ring, composed of 10 copies of Atp9p, is part of the rotor that couples proton translocation to synthesis or hydrolysis of ATP. We present evidence that prior to its assembly with other ATP synthase modules, most of Atp9p is present in at least three complexes with masses of 200-400 kDa that co-immunopurify with Cox6p. Pulse-labeling analysis disclosed a time-dependent reduction of radiolabeled Atp9p in the complexes and an increase of Atp9p in the ring form of wild type yeast and of mss51, pet111, and pet494 mutants lacking Cox1p, Cox2p and Cox3p, respectively. Ring formation was not significantly different from wild type in an mss51 or atp10 mutant. The atp10 mutations blocks the interaction of the Atp9p ring with other modules of the ATP synthase. In contrast ring formation was reduced in a cox6 mutant, consistent with a role of Cox6p in oligomerization of Atp9p. Cox6p involvement in ATP synthase assembly is also supported by studies showing that ring formation in cells adapting from fermentative to aerobic growth was less efficient in mitochondria of the cox6 mutant than the parental respiratory competent strain or a cox4 mutant. We speculate that the constitutive and Cox6p-independent rate of Atp9p oligomerization may be sufficient to produce the level of ATP synthase needed for maintaining a membrane potential but limiting for optimal oxidative phosphorylation.
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