Nature communications

Human copper chaperone for superoxide dismutase 1 mediates its own oxidation-dependent import into mitochondria.

PMID 24026195


Oxidative stress is counteracted by various cellular systems, including copper-zinc superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) and its activating chaperone, that is, the copper chaperone for SOD1 (CCS1). Both enzymes are structurally related, and both localize to the cytosol and the mitochondrial intermembrane space where they specifically counteract mitochondria-derived superoxide. The mechanism by which human CCS1 is transported into mitochondria is largely unclear. Here we show that CCS1 import depends on the presence of mature CCS1 in the mitochondria. During import, a disulphide bond is formed in CCS1 in a CCS1-dependent reaction. We demonstrate that oxidation and import depend on the presence of cysteine residues at positions 227 and 141/144 in CCS1. Notably, CCS1 import parallels SOD1 import that also depends on CCS1. Our observations suggest that CCS1 serves as a specialized import receptor in mitochondria that facilitates the import and folding of SOD1 and CCS1, thereby extending the substrate spectrum of oxidation-dependent protein import in the mitochondrial intermembrane space.