Functional molecular aspects of the NADH dehydrogenases of plant mitochondria

Kathleen L. Soole, R. Ian Menz

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    There are multiple routes of NAD(P)H oxidation associated with the inner membrane of plant mitochondria. These are the phosphorylating NADH dehydrogenase, otherwise known as Complex I, and at least four other nonphosphorylating NAD(P)H dehydrogenases. Complex I has been isolated from beetroot, broad bean, and potato mitochondria. It has at least 32 polypeptides associated with it, contains FMN as its prosthetic group, and the purified enzyme is sensitive to inhibition by rotenone. In terms of subunit complexity it appears similar to the mammalian and fungal enzymes. Some polypeptides display antigenic similarity to subunits from Neurospora crassa but little cross-reactivity to antisera raised against some beef heart complex I subunits. Plant complex I contains eight mitochondrial encoded subunits with the remainder being nuclear-encoded. Two of these mitochondrial-encoded subunits, nad7 and nad9, show homology to corresponding nuclear-encoded subunits in Neurospora crassa (49 and 30 kDa, respectively) and beef heart CI (49 and 31 kDa, respectively), suggesting a marked difference between the assembly of CI from plants and the fungal and mammalian enzymes. As well as complex I, plant mitochondria contain several type-II NAD(P)H dehydrogenases which mediate rotenone-insensitive oxidation of cytosolic and matrix NADH. We have isolated three of these dehydrogenases from beetroot mitochondria which are similar to enzymes isolated from potato mitochondria. Two of these enzymes are single polypeptides (32 and 55 kDa) and appear similar to those found in maize mitochondria, which have been localized to the outside of the inner membrane. The third enzyme appears to be a dimer comprised of two identical 43-kDa subunits. It is this enzyme that we believe contributes to rotenone-insensitive oxidation of matrix NADH. In addition to this type-II dehydrogenases, several observations suggest the presence of a smaller form of CI present in plant mitochondria which is insensitive to rotenone inhibition. We propose that this represents the peripheral arm of CI in plant mitochondria and may participate in nonphosphorylating matrix NADH oxidation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)397-406
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1995


    • Complex I
    • mitochondria
    • NADH dehydrogenases
    • Plant
    • protein purification
    • respiration
    • rotenone


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