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J Mol Biol. 2007 Feb 9;366(1):140-54. Epub 2006 Nov 11.

Projection structure of the membrane domain of Escherichia coli respiratory complex I at 8 A resolution.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, Wellcome Trust/MRC Building, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2XY, UK.

Abstract

Respiratory complex I (NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase) is an L-shaped multisubunit protein assembly consisting of a hydrophobic membrane arm and a hydrophilic peripheral arm. It catalyses the transfer of two electrons from NADH to quinone coupled to the translocation of four protons across the membrane. Although we have solved recently the crystal structure of the peripheral arm, the structure of the complete enzyme and the coupling mechanism are not yet known. The membrane domain of Escherichia coli complex I consists of seven different subunits with total molecular mass of 258 kDa. It is significantly more stable than the whole enzyme, which allowed us to obtain well-ordered two-dimensional crystals of the domain, belonging to the space group p22(1)2(1). Comparison of the projection map of negatively stained crystals with previously published low-resolution structures indicated that the characteristic curved shape of the membrane domain is remarkably well conserved between bacterial and mitochondrial enzymes, helping us to interpret projection maps in the context of the intact complex. Two pronounced stain-excluding densities at the distal end of the membrane domain are likely to represent the two large antiporter-like subunits NuoL and NuoM. Cryo-electron microscopy on frozen-hydrated crystals allowed us to calculate a projection map at 8 A resolution. About 60 transmembrane alpha-helices, both perpendicular to the membrane plane and tilted, are present within one membrane domain, which is consistent with secondary structure predictions. A possible binding site and access channel for quinone are found at the interface with the peripheral arm. Tentative assignment of individual subunits to the features of the map has been made. The location of subunits NuoL and NuoM at substantial distance from the peripheral arm, which contains all the redox centres of the complex, indicates that conformational changes are likely to play a role in the mechanism of coupling between electron transfer and proton pumping.

PMID:
17157874
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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