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Journal Article

Architecture of Active Mammalian Respiratory Chain Supercomplexes


Vonck,  Janet       
Department of Structural Biology, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Schäfer, E., Seelert, H., Reifschneider, N. H., Krause, F., Dencher, N. A., & Vonck, J. (2006). Architecture of Active Mammalian Respiratory Chain Supercomplexes. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 281, 15370-15375. doi:10.1074/jbc.M513525200.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-D95E-5
In the inner mitochondrial membrane, the respiratory chain complexes generate an electrochemical proton gradient, which is utilized to synthesize most of the cellular ATP. According to an increasing number of biochemical studies, these complexes are assembled into supercomplexes. However, little is known about the architecture of the proposed multicomplex assemblies. Here, we report the electron microscopic characterization of the two respiratory chain supercomplexes I1III2 and I1III2IV1 in bovine heart mitochondria, which are also two major supercomplexes in human mitochondria. After purification and demonstration of enzymatic activity, their structures in projection were determined by single particle image analysis. A difference map between the supercomplexes I1III2 and I1III2IV1 closely fits the x-ray structure of monocomplex IV and shows its location in the assembly. By comparing different views of supercomplex I1III2IV1, the location and mutual arrangement of complex I and the complex III dimer are discussed. Detailed knowledge of the architecture of the active supercomplexes is a prerequisite for a deeper understanding of energy conversion by mitochondria in mammals.