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Biochemistry. 2007 Nov 6;46(44):12579-85. Epub 2007 Oct 10.

Three-dimensional structure of the respiratory chain supercomplex I1III2IV1 from bovine heart mitochondria.

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Physical Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, Petersenstrasse 22, Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany.


The respiratory chain complexes can arrange into multienzyme assemblies, so-called supercomplexes. We present the first 3D map of a respiratory chain supercomplex. It was determined by random conical tilt electron microscopy analysis of a bovine supercomplex consisting of complex I, dimeric complex III, and complex IV (I1III2IV1). Within this 3D map the positions and orientations of all the individual complexes in the supercomplex were determined unambiguously. Furthermore, the ubiquinone and cytochrome c binding sites of each complex in the supercomplex could be located. The mobile electron carrier binding site of each complex was found to be in proximity to the binding site of the succeeding complex in the respiratory chain. This provides structural evidence for direct substrate channeling in the supercomplex assembly with short diffusion distances for the mobile electron carriers.

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