Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I

Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I

Cytochrome C and Quinol oxidase polypeptide I
Symbol COX1
Pfam InterPro PROSITE PDOC00074
SCOP SUPERFAMILY TCDB OPM superfamily OPM protein 1v55
CDD cd01663

Cytochrome C and Quinol oxidase polypeptide I is main subunit of cytochrome c oxidase complex.

Some terminal oxidases generate a transmembrane proton gradient across the plasma membrane (prokaryotes) or the mitochondrial inner membrane (eukaryotes).

The enzyme complex consists of 3-4 subunits (prokaryotes) up to 13 polypeptides (mammals) of which only the catalytic subunit (equivalent to mammalian subunit I (CO I)) is found in all heme-copper respiratory oxidases. The presence of a bimetallic centre (formed by a high-spin heme and copper B) as well as a low-spin heme, both ligated to six conserved histidine residues near the outer side of four transmembrane spans within CO I is common to all family members.[4][5][6] In contrast to eukaryotes the respiratory chain of prokaryotes is branched to multiple terminal oxidases. The enzyme complexes vary in heme and copper composition, substrate type and substrate affinity. The different respiratory oxidases allow the cells to customize their respiratory systems according to a variety of environmental growth conditions.[2]

It has been shown that eubacterial quinol oxidase was derived from cytochrome c oxidase in Gram-positive bacteria and that archaebacterial quinol oxidase has an independent origin. A considerable amount of evidence suggests that proteobacteria (Purple bacteria) acquired quinol oxidase through a lateral gene transfer from Gram-positive bacteria.[2]

A related nitric oxide reductase (


  • Cytochrome c oxidase cbb3-type, subunit I IPR004677
  • Cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase, subunit I IPR014207
  • Cytochrome aa3 quinol oxidase, subunit I IPR014233
  • Cytochrome c oxidase, subunit I bacterial type IPR014241


In humans, the main subunit of cytochrome c oxidase is encoded by the MT-CO1 gene.