We have previously shown that a fraction of yeast copper/zinc-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) and its copper chaperone CCS localize to the intermembrane space of mitochondria. In the present study, we have focused on the mechanism by which SOD1 is partitioned between cytosolic and mitochondrial pools. Using in vitro mitochondrial import assays, we show that only a very immature form of the SOD1 polypeptide that is apo for both copper and zinc can efficiently enter the mitochondria. Moreover, a conserved disulfide…
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