Diversity of Cytochrome c Oxidase Assembly Proteins in Bacteria

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cytochrome c oxidase in animals, plants and many aerobic bacteria functions as the terminal enzyme of the respiratory chain where it reduces molecular oxygen to form water in a reaction coupled to energy conservation. The three-subunit core of the enzyme is conserved, whereas several proteins identified to function in the biosynthesis of the common family A1 cytochrome c oxidase show diversity in bacteria. Using the model organisms Bacillus subtilis, Corynebacterium glutamicum, Paracoccus denitrificans, and Rhodobacter sphaeroides, the present review focuses on proteins for assembly of the heme a, heme a3, CuB, and CuA metal centers. The known biosynthesis proteins are, in most cases, discovered through the analysis of mutants. All proteins directly involved in cytochrome c oxidase assembly have likely not been identified in any organism. Limitations in the use of mutants to identify and functionally analyze biosynthesis proteins are discussed in the review. Comparative biochemistry helps to determine the role of assembly factors. This information can, for example, explain the cause of some human mitochondrion-based diseases and be used to find targets for new antimicrobial drugs. It also provides information regarding the evolution of aerobic bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number926
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Free keywords

  • bioenergetics
  • copper protein
  • cytochrome oxidase
  • enzyme assembly factors
  • enzyme biosynthesis
  • heme protein


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