NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase, respiratory complex I, plays a central role in cellular energy metabolism. As a major source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) it affects ageing and mitochondrial dysfunction. The novel inhibitor NADH-OH specifically blocks NADH oxidation and ROS production by complex I in nanomolar concentrations. Attempts to elucidate its structure by NMR spectroscopy have failed. Here, by using X-ray crystallographic analysis, we report the structure of NADH-OH bound in the active site of a soluble fragment of complex I at 2.0 Å resolution. We have identified key amino acid residues that are specific and essential for binding NADH-OH. Furthermore, the structure sheds light on the specificity of NADH-OH towards the unique Rossmann-fold of complex I and indicates a regulatory role in mitochondrial ROS generation. In addition, NADH-OH acts as a lead-structure for the synthesis of a novel class of ROS suppressors.
Keywords: NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase; electron transport; inhibitors; reactive oxygen species; structural biology.
© 2021 The Authors. Angewandte Chemie International Edition published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.