American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Hypoxia-inducible gene domain 1 (HIGD1) proteins are small integral membrane proteins, conserved from bacteria to humans, that associate with oxidative phosphorylation supercomplexes. Using yeast as a model organism, we have shown previously that its two HIGD1 proteins, Rcf1 and Rcf2, are required for the generation and maintenance of a normal membrane potential (ΔΨ) across the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM). We postulated that the lower ΔΨ observed in the absence of the HIGD1 proteins may be due to decreased proton pumping by complex IV (CIV) or enhanced leak of protons across the IMM. Here we measured the ΔΨ generated by complex III (CIII) to discriminate between these possibilities. First, we found that the decreased ΔΨ observed in the absence of the HIGD1 proteins cannot be due to decreased proton pumping by CIV because CIII, operating alone, also exhibited a decreased ΔΨ when HIGD1 proteins were absent. Because CIII can neither lower its pumping stoichiometry nor transfer protons completely across the IMM, this result indicates that HIGD1 protein ablation enhances proton leak across the IMM. Second, we demonstrate that this proton leak occurs through CIV because ΔΨ generation by CIII is restored when CIV is removed from the cell. Third, the proton leak appeared to take place through an inactive population of CIV that accumulates when HIGD1 proteins are absent. We conclude that HIGD1 proteins in yeast prevent CIV inactivation, likely by preventing the loss of lipids bound within the Cox3 protein of CIV.
Hoang, Ngoc H.; Strogolova, Vera; Mosley, Jaramys J.; Stuart, Rosemary A.; and Hosler, Jonathan, "Hypoxia-inducible Gene Domain 1 Proteins in Yeast Mitochondria Protect Against Proton Leak Through Complex IV" (2019). Biological Sciences Faculty Research and Publications. 777.
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