The assembly status of the cytochrome bc(1) complex has been analyzed in distinct yeast deletion strains in which genes for one or more of the bc(1) subunits were deleted. In all the yeast strains tested, a bc(1) sub-complex of approximately 500 kDa was found when the mitochondrial membranes were analyzed by blue native electrophoresis. The subsequent molecular characterization of this sub-complex, carried out in the second dimension by SDS/PAGE and immunodecoration, revealed the presence of the two catalytic subunits, cytochrome b and cytochrome c(1), associated with the noncatalytic subunits core protein 1, core protein 2, Qcr7p and Qcr8p. Together, these bc(1) subunits build up the core structure of the cytochrome bc(1) complex, which is then able to sequentially bind the remaining subunits, such as Qcr6p, Qcr9p, the Rieske iron-sulfur protein and Qcr10p. This bc(1) core structure may represent a true assembly intermediate during the maturation of the bc(1) complex; first, because of its wide distribution in distinct yeast deletion strains and, second, for its characteristics of stability, which resemble those of the intact homodimeric bc(1) complex. By contrast, the bc(1) core structure is unable to interact with the cytochrome c oxidase complex to form respiratory supercomplexes. The characterization of this novel core structure of the bc(1) complex provides a number of new elements clarifying the molecular events leading to the maturation of the yeast cytochrome bc(1) complex in the inner mitochondrial membrane.