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Membrane crystals of ubiquinone:cytochrome c reductase from Neurospora mitochondria


HIGH-RESOLUTION X-ray diffraction or electron microscopy studies of membrane proteins are hampered by the difficulty in obtaining crystals or periodic aggregates of the proteins. So far, only two examples of membrane proteins forming highly ordered arrays are known, the purple membrane of Halobacterium halobium1 and a membranous preparation of cytochrome c oxidase from beef heart2. Ubiquinone:cytochrome c reductase, a multiprotein enzyme, contributes about 10% of the inner mitochondrial membrane protein3. The enzyme is isolated as a dimer (molecular weight (MW) 550,000) and the monomeric unit comprises two b cytochromes (MW 30,000 each), a cytochrome c1 (MW 31,000), an iron-sulphur subunit (MW 25,000) and six subunits without known prosthetic groups (MWs 50,000, 45,000, 45,000, 14,000, 12,000 and 8,000)3,4. The enzyme catalyses the reduction of ferricytochrome c by reduced ubiquinone and conserves the energy generated by the oxidation-reduction reaction by translocating protons across the inner mitochondrial membrane5. Cytochrome c reductase is also of interest with respect to the genetics and biogenesis of mitochondria. The cytochrome b subunits of this enzyme belong to the small group of proteins which are translated on mitochondrial ribosomes6 and coded for by mitochondrial DNA7. We report here a method for preparing membrane crystals of ubiquinone:cytochrome c reductase isolated from Neurospora crassa.

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WINGFIELD, P., ARAD, T., LEONARD, K. et al. Membrane crystals of ubiquinone:cytochrome c reductase from Neurospora mitochondria. Nature 280, 696–697 (1979).

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