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Complex II from a Structural Perspective

[ Vol. 5 , Issue. 2 ]


Rob Horsefield, So Iwata and Bernadette Byrne   Pages 107 - 118 ( 12 )


The super-macromolecular complex, succinate:quinone oxidoreductase (SQR, Complex II, succinate dehydrogenase) couples the oxidation of succinate in the matrix / cytoplasm to the reduction of quinone in the membrane. This function directly connects the Krebs cycle and the aerobic respiratory chain. Until the recent first report of the structure of SQR from Escherichia coli (E. coli ) the structure-function relationships in SQR have been inferred from the structures of the homologous QFR, which catalyses the same reaction in the opposite direction. The structure of SQR from E. coli, analogous to the mitochondrial respiratory Complex II, has provided new insight into SQRs molecular design and mechanism, revealing the electron transport pathway through the enzyme. Comparison of the structures of SQR, QFR and other related flavoproteins shows how common amino acid residues at the interface of two domains facilitate the inter-conversion of succinate and fumarate. Additionally, the structure has provided a possible explanation as to why certain organisms utilise both SQR and QFR despite the fact that both can catalyse the interconversion of succinate and fumarate, in vitro and in vivo. Here we review how this structure has advanced our knowledge of this important enzyme and compare the structural information to other members of the Complex II superfamily and related flavoproteins.


succinate:quinone oxidoreductase, succinate dehydrogenase, membrane protein, aerobic respiratory chain


Department of Biological Sciences, Imperial College London, SW7 2AZ, UK.

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