Organization of Iron-Sulfur Clusters in Respiratory Complex I

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Science  29 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5735, pp. 771-774
DOI: 10.1126/science.1113988

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Complex I of respiratory chains plays a central role in bioenergetics and is implicated in many human neurodegenerative diseases. An understanding of its mechanism requires a knowledge of the organization of redox centers. The arrangement of iron-sulfur clusters in the hydrophilic domain of complex I from Thermus thermophilus has been determined with the use of x-ray crystallography. One binuclear and six tetranuclear clusters are arranged, maximally 14 angstroms apart, in an 84-angstrom-long electron transfer chain. The binuclear cluster N1a and the tetranuclear cluster N7 are not in this pathway. Cluster N1a may play a role in the prevention of oxidative damage. The structure provides a framework for the interpretation of the large amounts of data accumulated on complex I.

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