The respiratory substrate rhodoquinol induces Q-cycle bypass reactions in the yeast cytochrome bc(1) complex: mechanistic and physiological implications

The Journal of Biological Chemistry
Jonathan L CapeDavid M Kramer


The mitochondrial cytochrome bc(1) complex catalyzes the transfer of electrons from ubiquinol to cyt c while generating a proton motive force for ATP synthesis via the "Q-cycle" mechanism. Under certain conditions electron flow through the Q-cycle is blocked at the level of a reactive intermediate in the quinol oxidase site of the enzyme, resulting in "bypass reactions," some of which lead to superoxide production. Using analogs of the respiratory substrates ubiquinol-3 and rhodoquinol-3, we show that the relative rates of Q-cycle bypass reactions in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae cyt bc(1) complex are highly dependent by a factor of up to 100-fold on the properties of the substrate quinol. Our results suggest that the rate of Q-cycle bypass reactions is dependent on the steady state concentration of reactive intermediates produced at the quinol oxidase site of the enzyme. We conclude that normal operation of the Q-cycle requires a fairly narrow window of redox potentials with respect to the quinol substrate to allow normal turnover of the complex while preventing potentially damaging bypass reactions.


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