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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 May-Jun;1757(5-6):553-61. Epub 2006 Apr 17.

Generation of superoxide by the mitochondrial Complex I.

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Department of Biochemistry, School of Biology, Moscow State University, Moscow 119992, Russian Federation.


Superoxide production by inside-out coupled bovine heart submitochondrial particles, respiring with succinate or NADH, was measured. The succinate-supported production was inhibited by rotenone and uncouplers, showing that most part of superoxide produced during succinate oxidation is originated from univalent oxygen reduction by Complex I. The rate of the superoxide (O2*-)) production during respiration at a high concentration of NADH (1 mM) was significantly lower than that with succinate. Moreover, the succinate-supported O2*- production was significantly decreased in the presence of 1 mM NADH. The titration curves, i.e., initial rates of superoxide production versus NADH concentration, were bell-shaped with the maximal rate (at 50 microM NADH) approaching that seen with succinate. Both NAD+ and acetyl-NAD+ inhibited the succinate-supported reaction with apparent Ki's close to their Km's in the Complex I-catalyzed succinate-dependent energy-linked NAD+ reduction (reverse electron transfer) and NADH:acetyl-NAD+ transhydrogenase reaction, respectively. We conclude that: (i) under the artificial experimental conditions the major part of superoxide produced by the respiratory chain is formed by some redox component of Complex I (most likely FMN in its reduced or free radical form); (ii) two different binding sites for NADH (F-site) and NAD+ (R-site) in Complex I provide accessibility of the substrates-nucleotides to the enzyme red-ox component(s); F-site operates as an entry for NADH oxidation, whereas R-site operates in the reverse electron transfer and univalent oxygen reduction; (iii) it is unlikely that under the physiological conditions (high concentrations of NADH and NAD+) Complex I is responsible for the mitochondrial superoxide generation. We propose that the specific NAD(P)H:oxygen superoxide (hydrogen peroxide) producing oxidoreductase(s) poised in equilibrium with NAD(P)H/NAD(P)+ couple should exist in the mitochondrial matrix, if mitochondria are, indeed, participate in ROS-controlled processes under physiologically relevant conditions.

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