- The ubiquinone (UQ) reduction step catalyzed by NADH-UQ oxidoreductase (mitochondrial respiratory complex I) is key to triggering proton translocation across the inner mitochondrial membrane. Structural studies have identified a long, narrow, UQ-accessing tunnel within the enzyme. We previously demonstrated that synthetic oversized UQs, which are unlikely to transit this narrow tunnel, are catalytically reduced by native complex I embedded in submitochondrial particles but not by the isolated enzyme.
- The Na+-pumping NADH-ubiquinone (UQ) oxidoreductase (Na+-NQR) is present in the respiratory chain of many pathogenic bacteria and is thought to be a promising antibiotic target. Whereas many details of Na+-NQR structure and function are known, the mechanisms of action of potent inhibitors is not well-understood; elucidating the mechanisms would not only advance drug design strategies but might also provide insights on a terminal electron transfer from riboflavin to UQ. To this end, we performed photoaffinity labeling experiments using photoreactive derivatives of two known inhibitors, aurachin and korormicin, on isolated Vibrio cholerae Na+-NQR.
- The small molecule IACS-010759 has been reported to potently inhibit the proliferation of glycolysis-deficient hypoxic tumor cells by interfering with the functions of mitochondrial NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase (complex I) without exhibiting cytotoxicity at tolerated doses in normal cells. Considering the significant cytotoxicity of conventional quinone-site inhibitors of complex I, such as piericidin and acetogenin families, we hypothesized that the mechanism of action of IACS-010759 on complex I differs from that of other known quinone-site inhibitors.
- NADH-quinone oxidoreductase (complex I) couples electron transfer from NADH to quinone with proton translocation across the membrane. Quinone reduction is a key step for energy transmission from the site of quinone reduction to the remotely located proton-pumping machinery of the enzyme. Although structural biology studies have proposed the existence of a long and narrow quinone-access channel, the physiological relevance of this channel remains debatable. We investigated here whether complex I in bovine heart submitochondrial particles (SMPs) can catalytically reduce a series of oversized ubiquinones (OS-UQs), which are highly unlikely to transit the narrow channel because their side chain includes a bulky “block” that is ∼13 Å across.