Copper deficiency has been reported to be associated with decreased cytochrome c oxidase activity, which in turn may be responsible for the observed mitochondrial impairment and cardiac failure. We isolated mitochondria from hearts of copper-deficient rats: cytochrome c oxidase activity was found to be lower than in copper-adequate mitochondria. The residual activity paralleled copper content of mitochondria and also corresponded with the heme amount associated with cytochrome aa3. In fact, lower absorption in the α-band region of cytochrome aa3 was found for copper-deficient rat heart mitochondria. Gel electrophoresis of protein extracted from mitochondrial membranes allowed measurements of protein content of the complexes of oxidative phosphorylation, revealing a lower content of complex IV protein in copper-deficient rat heart mitochondria. The alterations caused by copper deficiency appear to be specific for cytochrome c oxidase. Changes were not observed for F0F1ATP synthase activity, for heme contents of cytochrome c and b, and for protein contents of complexes I, III and V. The present study demonstrates that the alteration of cytochrome c oxidase activity observed in copper deficiency is due to a diminished content of assembled protein and that shortness of copper impairs heme insertion into cytochrome c oxidase.
- Copper deficiency
- Cytochrome c oxidase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)