The interaction of the Rieske iron-sulfur protein with occupants of the Qo-site of the bc1 complex, probed by electron spin echo envelope modulation

J Biol Chem. 2002 Feb 15;277(7):4605-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.C100664200. Epub 2001 Dec 17.


The bifurcated reaction at the Q(o)-site of the bc(1) complex provides the mechanistic basis of the proton pumping activity through which the complex conserves redox energy in the proton gradient. Structural information about the binding of quinone at the site is lacking, because the site is vacant in crystals of the native complexes. We now report the first structural characterization of the interaction of the native quinone occupant with the Rieske iron-sulfur protein in the bc(1) complex of Rhodobacter sphaeroides, using high resolution EPR. We have compared the binding configuration in the presence of quinone with the known structures for the complex with stigmatellin and myxothiazol. We have shown by using EPR and orientation-selective electron spin echo envelope modulation (ESEEM) measurements of the iron-sulfur protein that when quinone is present in the site, the isotropic hyperfine constant of one of the N(delta) atoms of a liganding histidine of the [2Fe-2S] cluster is similar to that observed when stigmatellin is present and different from the configuration in the presence of myxothiazol. The spectra also show complementary differences in nitrogen quadrupole splittings in some orientations. We suggest that the EPR characteristics, the ESEEM spectra, and the hyperfine couplings reflect a similar interaction between the iron-sulfur protein and the quinone or stigmatellin and that the N(delta) involved is that of a histidine (equivalent to His-161 in the chicken mitochondrial complex) that forms both a ligand to the cluster and a hydrogen bond with a carbonyl oxygen atom of the Q(o)-site occupant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy / methods
  • Electron Transport Complex III / chemistry
  • Electron Transport Complex III / metabolism*
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / chemistry*
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ligands
  • Models, Chemical
  • Protein Binding
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Rhodobacter / chemistry


  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Rieske iron-sulfur protein
  • Electron Transport Complex III