The specificity of mitochondrial complex I for ubiquinones.


Degli Esposti, M; Ngo, A; McMullen, G L; Ghelli, A; Sparla, F; Benelli, B; Ratta, M; Linnane, A W

Publication Year 1996
Journal The Biochemical Journal
Pages 327-334
Volume 313 ( Pt 1)
PMID 8546703.0
PMCID PMC1216902
DOI 10.1042/bj3130327

We report the first detailed study on the ubiquinone (coenzyme Q; abbreviated to Q) analogue specificity of mitochondrial complex I, NADH:Q reductase, in intact submitochondrial particles. The enzymic function of complex I has been investigated using a series of analogues of Q as electron acceptor substrates for both electron transport activity and the associated generation of membrane potential. Q analogues with a saturated substituent of one to three carbons at position 6 of the 2,3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-1,4-benzoquinone ring have the fastest rates of electron transport activity, and analogues with a substituent of seven to nine carbon atoms have the highest values of association constant derived from NADH:Q reductase activity. The rate of NADH:Q reductase activity is potently but incompletely inhibited by rotenone, and the residual rotenone-insensitive rate is stimulated by Q analogues in different ways depending on the hydrophobicity of their substituent. Membrane potential measurements have been undertaken to evaluate the energetic efficiency of complex I with various Q analogues. Only hydrophobic analogues such as nonyl-Q or undecyl-Q show an efficiency of membrane potential generation equivalent to that of endogenous Q. The less hydrophobic analogues as well as the isoprenoid analogue Q-2 are more efficient as substrates for the redox activity of complex I than for membrane potential generation. Thus the hydrophilic Q analogues act also as electron sinks and interact incompletely with the physiological Q site in complex I that pumps protons and generates membrane potential.