The evolutionarily conserved YidC/Oxa1/Alb3 proteins are involved in the insertion of membrane proteins in all domains of life. In plant mitochondria, individual knockouts of OXA1a, OXA2a, and OXA2b are embryo-lethal. In contrast to other members of the protein family, OXA2a and OXA2b contain a tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domain at the C-terminus. Here, the role of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) OXA2b was determined by using viable mutant plants that were generated by complementing homozygous lethal OXA2b T-DNA insertional mutants with a C-terminally truncated OXA2b lacking the TPR domain. The truncated-OXA2b-complemented plants displayed severe growth retardation due to a strong reduction in the steady-state abundance and enzyme activity of the mitochondrial respiratory chain complex IV. The TPR domain of OXA2b directly interacts with cytochrome c oxidase subunit 2, aiding in efficient membrane insertion and translocation of its C-terminus. Thus, OXA2b is crucial for the biogenesis of complex IV in plant mitochondria.

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