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Biochemistry. 1998 Feb 17;37(7):1861-7.

Characterization of the overproduced NADH dehydrogenase fragment of the NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase (complex I) from Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Institut für Biochemie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany.


The proton-pumping NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase of Escherichia coli is composed of 14 different subunits and contains one FMN and up to nine iron-sulfur clusters as prosthetic groups. By use of salt treatment, the complex can be split into an NADH dehydrogenase fragment, a connecting fragment and a membrane fragment. The water-soluble NADH dehydrogenase fragment has a molecular mass of approximately 170,000 Da and consists of the subunits NuoE, F, and G. The fragment harbors the FMN and probably six iron-sulfur clusters, four of them being observable by EPR spectroscopy. Here, we report that the fully assembled fragment can be overproduced in E. coli when the genes nuoE, F, and G were simultaneously overexpressed with the genes nuoB, C, and D. Furthermore, riboflavin, sodium sulfide, and ferric ammonium citrate have to be added to the culture medium. The fragment was purified from the cytoplasm by means of ammonium sulfate fractionation and chromatographic steps. The preparation contains one noncovalently bound FMN per molecule. Two binuclear (N1b and N1c) and two tetranuclear (N3 and N4) iron-sulfur clusters were detected by EPR in the NADH reduced preparation with spectral characteristics identical with those of the corresponding clusters in complex I. The preparation fulfills all prerequisites for crystallization of the fragment.

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