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Biochemistry. 2008 Aug 26;47(34):8894-901. doi: 10.1021/bi800507p. Epub 2008 Aug 2.

The iron-sulfur cluster of electron transfer flavoprotein-ubiquinone oxidoreductase is the electron acceptor for electron transfer flavoprotein.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado 80208, USA.


Electron transfer flavoprotein-ubiquinone oxidoreductase (ETF-QO) accepts electrons from electron transfer flavoprotein (ETF) and reduces ubiquinone from the ubiquinone pool. It contains one [4Fe-4S] (2+,1+) and one FAD, which are diamagnetic in the isolated oxidized enzyme and can be reduced to paramagnetic forms by enzymatic donors or dithionite. In the porcine protein, threonine 367 is hydrogen bonded to N1 and O2 of the flavin ring of the FAD. The analogous site in Rhodobacter sphaeroides ETF-QO is asparagine 338. Mutations N338T and N338A were introduced into the R. sphaeroides protein by site-directed mutagenesis to determine the impact of hydrogen bonding at this site on redox potentials and activity. The mutations did not alter the optical spectra, EPR g-values, spin-lattice relaxation rates, or the [4Fe-4S] (2+,1+) to FAD point-dipole interspin distances. The mutations had no impact on the reduction potential for the iron-sulfur cluster, which was monitored by changes in the continuous wave EPR signals of the [4Fe-4S] (+) at 15 K. For the FAD semiquinone, significantly different potentials were obtained by monitoring the titration at 100 or 293 K. Based on spectra at 293 K the N338T mutation shifted the first and second midpoint potentials for the FAD from +47 and -30 mV for wild type to -11 and -19 mV, respectively. The N338A mutation decreased the potentials to -37 and -49 mV. Lowering the midpoint potentials resulted in a decrease in the quinone reductase activity and negligible impact on disproportionation of ETF 1e (-) catalyzed by ETF-QO. These observations indicate that the FAD is involved in electron transfer to ubiquinone but not in electron transfer from ETF to ETF-QO. Therefore, the iron-sulfur cluster is the immediate acceptor from ETF.

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