Extra-mitochondrial localization and likely reproductive function of a female-transmitted cytochrome c oxidase subunit II protein

Jennifer M. Walker, University of Southern Mississippi


Our previous study documented a reproductive function for the male-transmitted mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-encoded cytochrome c oxidase subunit II (MCOX2) protein in a unionoid bivalve. Here, immunoblotting, immunohistochemistry and immunoelectron microscopy analyses demonstrate that the female-transmitted protein (FCOX2) is: (i) expressed in both male and female gonads; (ii) maximally expressed in ovaries just prior to the time of the annual fertilization event; (iii) displayed in the cytoplasm and more strongly in the plasma membrane (microvilli), vitelline matrix and vitelline envelope of mature ovarian eggs; and (iv) strongly localized to the vitelline matrix of some eggs just prior to fertilization. These findings represent evidence for the extra-mitochondrial localization of an mtDNA-encoded gene product and are consistent with multifunctionality for FCOX2 in eggs.