Ferricytochrome c protects mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase against hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative damage

Erik Sedlák, Marian Fabian, Neal C. Robinson, Andrej Musatov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


An excess of ferricytochrome c protects purified mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase and bound cardiolipin from hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative modification. All of the peroxide-induced changes within cytochrome c oxidase, such as oxidation of Trp19,IV and Trp48,VIIc, partial dissociation of subunits VIa and VIIa, and generation of cardiolipin hydroperoxide, no longer take place in the presence of ferricytochrome c. Furthermore, ferricytochrome c suppresses the yield of H2O2-induced free radical detectable by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy within cytochrome c oxidase. These protective effects are based on two mechanisms. The first involves the peroxidase/catalase-like activity of ferricytochrome c, which results in the decomposition of H2O2, with the apparent bimolecular rate constant of 5.1±1.0M-1s-1. Although this value is lower than the rate constant of a specialized peroxidase, the activity is sufficient to eliminate H2O2-induced damage to cytochrome c oxidase in the presence of an excess of ferricytochrome c. The second mechanism involves ferricytochrome c-induced quenching of free radicals generated within cytochrome c oxidase. These results suggest that ferricytochrome c may have an important role in protection of cytochrome c oxidase and consequently the mitochondrion against oxidative damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1574-1581
Number of pages8
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 30 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytochrome c
  • Cytochrome c oxidase
  • Free radicals
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Oxidative damage
  • Peroxidase activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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