The C‐terminal positively charged region of subunit 8 of yeast mitochondrial ATP synthase is required for efficient assembly of this subunit into the membrane F0 sector

David G. Grasso, Debra Nero, Ruby H.P. Law, Rodney J. Devenish, Phillip Nagley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This paper deals with a truncated derivative of subunit 8 of yeast mitochondrial ATP synthase in which a conserved positively charged residue (Lys47) has been removed by site‐directed mutagenesis together with the C‐terminal residue (Leu48). This derivative has been expressed as a chimaeric precursor N9L/Y8‐1(K47‐STP) carrying an N‐terminal cleavable leader sequence (N9L), fused by a short bridging sequence to the truncated subunit‐8 passenger protein. Allotopic expression of N9L/Y8‐1(K47‐STP) in vivo in an aap 1 mit host yeast strain lacking endogenous subunit 8 leads to partial restoration of bioenergetic function in the transformant strain denoted T475. Import and assembly studies were carried out in vitro using target mitochondria from strain YGL‐1 partially depleted in subunit 8; such controlled depletion has been previously shown to be required for the efficient assembly (monitored immunochemically) of full‐length subunit 8 imported in vitro as the precursor N9L/Y8‐1. It was found that N9L/Y8‐1(K47‐STP) synthesized in vitro was imported successfully into YGL‐1 mitochondria, but no significant assembly of the truncated subunit 8 was observed in these or any other mitochondria tested. The bioenergetic defects in T475 mitochondria are ascribed to the impaired assembly of the subunit‐8 variant in vivo, resulting from the truncation at Lys47. In consequence, T475 mitochondria behave as though partially depleted of subunit 8. This conclusion was supported by the ability of isolated T475 mitochondria to provide a vehicle for the efficient import and assembly of subunit 8 processed form full‐length N9L/Y8‐1. Two related aspects of import and assembly have been addressed as part of the analysis of truncated subunit 8. First, mitochondria from strain T2‐1, an aapl mit mutant genetically reconstituted by allotopic expression of N9L/Y8‐1, were also found to be effective in the in vitro assembly of subunit 8 derived from imported N9L/Y8‐1. This suggests an intramitochondrial shortage of subunit 8 delivered by allotopic expression of N9L/Y8‐1 in vivo, which may underlie the incomplete restoration of energy coupling in T2‐1 mitochondria compared to those of wild‐type yeast. Second, on allotopic expression of N9L/Y8‐2 (containing subunit 8 directly fused to N9L) in the aap 1 mit host, a rescued transformant strain T10‐1 was generated which displays bioenergetic defects superficially similar to those of T475. Processed subunit 8 clearly assembled into the ATP synthase of isolated YGL‐1 mitochondria, in spite of the relatively weak import of N9L/Y8‐2 in vitro. This demonstrates the ability of the in vitro assembly system to distinguish assembly properties of variants of subunit 8, such as N9L/Y8‐1(K47‐STP) and N9L/Y8‐2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-209
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991

Cite this