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J Mol Biol. 1993 Sep 5;233(1):109-22.

The gene locus of the proton-translocating NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase in Escherichia coli. Organization of the 14 genes and relationship between the derived proteins and subunits of mitochondrial complex I.

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  • 1Institut für Biochemie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Federal Republic of Germany.


The gene locus nuo of the proton-translocating NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase in Escherichia coli was identified by means of a DNA probe made by the polymerase chain reaction. The primers used for the reaction were derived from consensus sequences of the NAD(H)-binding subunit of mitochondrial NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase and the NAD(+)-reducing hydrogenase of Alcaligenes eutrophus. The nuo locus lies between minutes 49.2 and 49.6 on the E. coli chromosome and contains a cluster of 14 genes. They are bordered upstream by a sequence resembling sigma 70-dependent promoters and downstream by a sequence resembling rho-independent terminators. All 14 proteins derived from the nuo-genes are related to subunits of mitochondrial NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase, among which all subunits presumed to bind the substrates and to harbour the redox groups are found, as well as all seven mitochondrially encoded subunits. The E. coli enzyme seems to represent the minimal form of a proton-translocating NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase. The gene order in the nuo locus is conserved in comparison with other bacterial genomes and the chloroplast genome of higher plants. To some extent, the gene order correlates with the topological arrangement of the encoded subunits. The conception of modular evolution of NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase is further supported by the arrangement of the nuo-genes.

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