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J Mol Biol. 2005 Aug 12;351(2):327-33.

The 29.9 kDa subunit of mitochondrial complex I is involved in the enzyme active/de-active transitions.

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Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular (IBMC), Universidade do Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre 823, 4150-180 Porto, Portugal.


Mitochondrial respiratory chain complex I undergoes transitions from active to de-activated forms. We have investigated the phenomenon in sub-mitochondrial particles from Neurospora crassa wild-type and a null-mutant lacking the 29.9 kDa nuclear-coded subunit of complex I. Based on enzymatic activities, genetic crosses and analysis of mitochondrial proteins in sucrose gradients, we found that about one-fifth of complex I with catalytic properties similar to the wild-type enzyme is assembled in the mutant. Mutant complex I still displays active/de-active transitions, indicating that other proteins are involved in the phenomenon. However, the kinetic characteristics of complex I active/de-active transitions in nuo29.9 differ from wild-type. The spontaneous de-activation of the mutant enzyme is much slower, implicating the 29.9 kDa polypeptide in this event. We suggest that the fungal 29.9 kDa protein and its homologues in other organisms may modulate the active/de-active transitions of complex I.

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