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J Bacteriol. 1989 Nov; 171(11): 5823–5829.
PMCID: PMC210442

Structure and function of a menaquinone involved in electron transport in membranes of Clostridium thermoautotrophicum and Clostridium thermoaceticum.


Clostridium thermoaceticum and Clostridium thermoautotrophicum contain the same menaquinone. Its structure, determined by thin-layer chromatography, UV absorption spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, was found to be MK-7 (2-methyl-3-heptaprenyl-1,4-naphthoquinone). The menaquinone is located in the cytoplasmic membranes and is involved in redox reactions of two b-type cytochromes present in the clostridia. These reactions were studied with right-side-out membranes prepared from C. thermoautotrophicum by using CO as an electron donor. In intact membranes, both cytochromes were reduced, whereas after inactivation of the menaquinone by exposure of the membranes to UV irradiation, reduction of the low-potential cytochrome (Eo', -200 mV) but not of the high-potential cytochrome (Eo', -48 mV) occurred. The reduction of the high-potential cytochrome in UV-irradiated membranes was restored following the addition of oxidized menaquinone and with an excess of CO. The addition of oxidized menaquinone to reduced membranes resulted initially in a preferential oxidation of the low-potential cytochrome. The results obtained indicate that the menaquinone acts between the two b-type cytochromes in an electron transport chain.

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