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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1994 May 18;1185(3):271-8.

Structural factors of antimycin A molecule required for inhibitory action.

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Department of Agricultural Chemistry, Kyoto University, Japan.


A series of antimycin A analogues was synthesized by modifying the salicylic acid moiety, whereas the portion of the molecule corresponding to the natural dilactone-ring moiety was fixed as di-n-octyl L-glutamate. To probe the structure of the antimycin A binding site, the structural factors of the salicylic acid moiety required for inhibitory action were examined by means of structure-activity studies with intact rat-liver mitochondria and the cytochrome bc1 complex isolated from bovine heart mitochondria. As suggested earlier (Rieske, J.S. (1976) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 456, 195-247), the phenolic OH was very important for inhibition. For the derivatives which do not possess a formylamino group in the 3-position (ortho to the phenolic OH), the inhibitory activity tended to increase as the electron-withdrawing property of the substituent increased, i.e., as the acidity of the phenolic OH group increased. This indicates that the acidity of the phenolic OH is an important factor governing inhibition. While the electron-withdrawing property of the formylamino group itself is rather poor, 3-formylamino derivatives elicited potent activity. The conformation of the 3-formylamino group was also found to be a very important factor in establishing inhibitory activity. In addition, the bulkier the moiety corresponding to the 3-formylamino group, the lower the activity. These results demonstrate that the presence of the 3-formylamino group, and its proper conformation, are needed for a close fitting of antimycin A to its binding domain. Although the inhibitors that lack a 3-formylamino group retained fairly potent activity, their effects on the reduction of cytochromes b and c1 were somewhat different from those of natural antimycin A, indicating that the 3-formylamino group is essential for inhibitor binding to the cytochrome bc1 complex in the same manner as natural antimycin A. It is concluded that both the 3-formylamino group and the phenolic OH of antimycin A make important contributions to specific interactions with the amino acid residues of the cytochrome b.

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