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Biochem J. 1991 Sep 15; 278(Pt 3): 821–829.
PMCID: PMC1151420

NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase from bovine heart mitochondria. cDNA sequences of the import precursors of the nuclear-encoded 39 kDa and 42 kDa subunits.


The 39 kDa and 42 kDa subunits of NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase from bovine heart mitochondria are nuclear-coded components of the hydrophobic protein fraction of the enzyme. Their amino acid sequences have been deduced from the sequences of overlapping cDNA clones. These clones were amplified from total bovine heart cDNA by means of the polymerase chain reaction, with the use of complex mixtures of oligonucleotide primers based upon fragments of protein sequence determined at the N-terminals of the proteins and at internal sites. The protein sequences of the 39 kDa and 42 kDa subunits are 345 and 320 amino acid residues long respectively, and their calculated molecular masses are 39,115 Da and 36,693 Da. Both proteins are predominantly hydrophilic, but each contains one or two hydrophobic segments that could possibly be folded into transmembrane alpha-helices. The bovine 39 kDa protein sequence is related to that of a 40 kDa subunit from complex I from Neurospora crassa mitochondria; otherwise, it is not related significantly to any known sequence, including redox proteins and two polypeptides involved in import of proteins into mitochondria, known as the mitochondrial processing peptidase and the processing-enhancing protein. Therefore the functions of the 39 kDa and 42 kDa subunits of complex I are unknown. The mitochondrial gene product, ND4, a hydrophobic component of complex I with an apparent molecular mass of about 39 kDa, has been identified in preparations of the enzyme. This subunit stains faintly with Coomassie Blue dye, and in many gel systems it is not resolved from the nuclearcoded 36 kDa subunit.

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