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New Insights into Type II NAD(P)H:Quinone Oxidoreductases

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
  • Review
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Type II NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductases (NDH-2) catalyze the two-electron transfer from NAD(P)H to quinones, without any energy-transducing site. NDH-2 accomplish the turnover of NAD(P)H, regenerating the NAD(P)+ pool, and may contribute to the generation of a membrane potential through complexes III and IV. These enzymes are usually constituted by a nontransmembrane polypeptide chain of ∼50 kDa, containing a flavin moiety. There are a few compounds that can prevent their activity, but so far no general specific inhibitor has been assigned to these enzymes. However, they have the common feature of being resistant to the complex I classical inhibitors rotenone, capsaicin, and piericidin A. NDH-2 have particular relevance in yeasts like Saccharomyces cerevisiae and in several prokaryotes, whose respiratory chains are devoid of complex I, in which NDH-2 keep the [NADH]/[NAD+] balance and are the main entry point of electrons into the respiratory chains. Our knowledge of these proteins has expanded in the past decade, as a result of contributions at the biochemical level and the sequencing of the genomes from several organisms. The latter showed that most organisms contain genes that potentially encode NDH-2. An overview of this development is presented, with special emphasis on microbial enzymes and on the identification of three subfamilies of NDH-2.

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