Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.344, No.4, 1086-1093, 2006
Inhibition of cytochrome c oxidase subunit 4 precursor processing by the hypoxia mimic cobalt chloride
Cobalt is often used as a hypoxia mimic in cell culture, because it stabilizes the alpha subunits of the transcription factor, HIF (hypoxia-inducible factor). We have previously shown that HIF stabilization due to a deficiency of the von Hippel Lindau protein (pVHL) in clear cell renal carcinoma (CRCC) was correlated to a down-regulation of oxidative phosphorylation. To better understand this mechanism, we have used CoCl2 in CRCC expressing stably transfected vhl. We show that, in addition to its effect on HIF-alpha subunits, CoCl2 prevented the normal processing of the precursor of cytochrome c oxidase (COX) subunit 4 and induced COX degradation very likely by inhibiting the mitochondrial intermediate peptidase (MIP) that cleaves the COX4 precursor protein. This cobalt-induced MIP inhibition was however not observed in other human mitochondrial precursor sequences as previously predicted from comparison between human and yeast mitochondrial precursor sequences. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.