Exploration of ligands to the Qi site semiquinone in the bc 1 complex using high-resolution EPR

Derrick R.J. Kolling, Rimma I. Samoilova, J. Todd Holland, Edward A. Berry, Sergei A. Dikanov, Antony R. Crofts

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Pulsed EPR spectroscopy was used to explore the structural neighborhood of the semiquinone (SQ) stabilized at the Qi site of the bc1 complex of Rhodobacter sphaeroides (EC and to demonstrate that the nitrogen atom of a histidine imidazole group donates an H-bond to the SQ. Crystallographic structures show two different configurations for the binding of ubiquinone at the Qi site of mitochondrial bc1 complexes in which histidine (His-201 in bovine sequence) is either a direct H-bond donor or separated by a bridging water. The paramagnetic properties of the SQ formed at the site provide an independent method for studying the liganding of this intermediate species. The antimycin-sensitive SQ formed at the Qi site by either equilibrium redox titration, reduction of the oxidized complex by ascorbate, or addition of decylubihydroquinone to the oxidized complex in the presence of myxothiazol all showed similar properties. The electron spin echo envelope modulation spectra in the 14N region were dominated by lines with frequencies at 1.7 and 3.1 MHz. Hyperfine sublevel correlation spectroscopy spectra showed that these were contributed by a single nitrogen. Further analysis showed that the 14N nucleus was characterized by an isotropic hyperfine coupling of ∼0.8 MHz and a quadrupole coupling constant of ∼0.35 MHz. The nitrogen was identified as the N-ε or N-δ imidazole nitrogen of a histidine (it is likely to be His-217, or His-201 in bovine sequence). A distance of 2.5-3.1 Å for the O-N distance between the carbonyl of SQ and the nitrogen was estimated. The mechanistic significance is discussed in the context of a dynamic role for the movement of His-217 in proton transfer to the site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39747-39754
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 10 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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