The mitochondrial respiratory chain is organized in a dynamic set of supercomplexes (SCs). The COX7A2L protein is essential for mammalian SC III2+IV assembly. However, its function in respirasome (SCs I+III2+IVn) biogenesis remains controversial. To unambiguously determine the COX7A2L role, we generated COX7A2L-knockout (COX7A2L-KO) HEK293T and U87 cells. COX7A2L-KO cells lack SC III2+IV but have enhanced complex III steady-state levels, activity, and assembly rate, normal de novo complex IV biogenesis, and delayed respirasome formation. Nonetheless, the KOs have normal respirasome steady-state levels, and only larger structures (SCs I1-2+III2+IV2-n or megacomplexes) were undetected. Functional substrate-driven competition assays showed normal mitochondrial respiration in COX7A2L-KO cells in standard and nutritional-, environmental-, and oxidative-stress-challenging conditions. We conclude that COX7A2L establishes a regulatory checkpoint for the biogenesis of CIII2 and specific SCs, but the COX7A2L-dependent MRC remodeling is essential neither to maintain mitochondrial bioenergetics nor to cope with acute cellular stresses. The role of COX7A2L in mitochondrial respiratory chain supercomplex biogenesis and function remains controversial. By analyzing COX7A2L-knockout human cells, Lobo-Jarne et al. report that this protein promotes specific respiratory chain complex assembly and organization remodeling but does not affect mitochondrial bioenergetics in physiological, nutritional, or oxidative stress conditions.
- complex III
- mitochondrial respiratory chain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)