Xochitl Pérez-Martínez, Ph.D.

Title
Professor
Department
Basic Sciences Division
Institution
National Autonomous University of Mexico
Address
Circuito exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria
City
Mexico City
Country
Mexico
E-mail
xperez[at]ifc.unam.mx
Website
http://www.ifc.unam.mx/researchers/xochitl-perez/en
Research Field
Genetics
Award Year
2002
Country Of Origin
Mexico
Mentor Name
Thomas D. Fox, Ph.D.

Research

Our lab studies the mechanisms that control the amount of Cox1 that is synthesized in mitochondria. Cox1 is the largest subunit of the cytochrome c oxidase (COX), the last electron acceptor of the respiratory chain. Cox1 is encoded by the mitochondrial gene COX1, so the protein has to be synthesized within mitochondrial ribosomes and inserted into the mitochondrial inner membrane. Cox1 is essential for the catalytic activity of the enzyme, as it contains the heme a/heme a3-CuB center. In addition, Cox1 has a central role in the assembly of COX, which is composed of 12 subunits in yeast.

The amount of Cox1 protein made in mitochondria is dependent on the assembly state of the COX. In general, mutants where COX assembly is disrupted show a reduced Cox1 synthesis. Our lab is focused in understanding the mechanisms that control this process.