An unusual amino acid substitution within hummingbird cytochrome c oxidase alters a key proton-conducting channel

Cory Dunn, Bala Ani Akpinar & Vivek Sharma
Hummingbirds in flight exhibit the highest metabolic rate of all vertebrates. The bioenergetic requirements associated with sustained hovering flight raise the possibility of unique amino acid substitutions that would enhance aerobic metabolism. Here, we have identified a non-conservative substitution within the mitochondria-encoded cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) that is fixed within hummingbirds, yet exceedingly rare among other vertebrates. This unusual change is also rare among metazoans, but can be identified in several clades with...
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