Subunit composition of Rhodothermus marinus respiratory complex I

Ana P. Batista, Catarina Franco, Marta Mendes, Ana V. Coelho, Manuela M. Pereira*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The basic structural characterization of complex I is still not trivial due to its complexity, not only in the number of its protein constituents but especially because of the different properties of the several subunits. Bacterial complex I generally contains 14 subunits: 7 hydrophilic proteins located in the peripheral arm and 7 hydrophobic proteins present in the membrane arm. It is the identification of the hydrophobic proteins that makes the characterization of complex I, and of membrane proteins in general, very difficult. In this article, we report the identification of the subunits of complex I from Rhodothermus marinus. The original approach, presented here, combined several protein and peptides separation strategies (different reversed phase materials, high-performance liquid chromatography, and gel electrophoresis) with different identification methods (electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and Edman degradation analysis) and represents a step forward in the characterization of membrane proteins that studies are still technically highly challenging. The combination of the different methodologies allowed the identification of complex I canonical subunits and also a possible novel subunit, namely a pterin-4α-carbinolamine dehydratase (PCD). This was the first time that a PCD was suggested to be part of complex I, and its possible regulatory role is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-110
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Mass spectrometry
  • NADH dehydrogenase
  • NADH:quinone oxidoreductase
  • Respiratory chain


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