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Biochemistry. 2007 Sep 18;46(37):10694-702. Epub 2007 Aug 28.

Lambda Red-mediated mutagenesis and efficient large scale affinity purification of the Escherichia coli NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase (complex I).

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Institut für Organische Chemie und Biochemie, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Albertstrasse 21, Spemann Graduate School of Biology and Medicine, D-79104 Freiburg i. Br., Germany.


The proton-pumping NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase, the respiratory complex I, couples the transfer of electrons from NADH to ubiquinone with the translocation of protons across the membrane. The Escherichia coli complex I consists of 13 different subunits named NuoA-N (from NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase), that are coded by the genes of the nuo-operon. Genetic manipulation of the operon is difficult due to its enormous size. The enzymatic activity of variants is obscured by an alternative NADH dehydrogenase, and purification of the variants is hampered by their instability. To overcome these problems the entire E. coli nuo-operon was cloned and placed under control of the l-arabinose inducible promoter ParaBAD. The exposed N-terminus of subunit NuoF was chosen for engineering the complex with a hexahistidine-tag by lambda-Red-mediated recombineering. Overproduction of the complex from this construct in a strain which is devoid of any membrane-bound NADH dehydrogenase led to the assembly of a catalytically active complex causing the entire NADH oxidase activity of the cytoplasmic membranes. After solubilization with dodecyl maltoside the engineered complex binds to a Ni2+-iminodiacetic acid matrix allowing the purification of approximately 11 mg of complex I from 25 g of cells. The preparation is pure and monodisperse and comprises all known subunits and cofactors. It contains more lipids than earlier preparations due to the gentle and fast purification procedure. After reconstitution in proteoliposomes it couples the electron transfer with proton translocation in an inhibitor sensitive manner, thus meeting all prerequisites for structural and functional studies.

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