Novel Inhibitors for a Novel Binding Site in Respiratory Complex III

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Journal of Physical Chemistry B


A new binding site and potential novel inhibitors of the respiratory complex III are described. The site is located at the opposite side of the enzyme with respect to ubiquinol binding site (Qo site), and distinctly different from both Qo and Qi sites (hence designated as Non-Q binding site, NQ). NQ site binding pocket extends up close to Phe90 residue, an internal switch (LH switch) that regulates electron transfer between heme bL and heme bH of the low potential redox chain. Docking studies and molecular dynamics simulations of different molecules to the NQ site revealed potential ligands which exhibit a novel inhibitory effect for bc1 complex by switching the LH switch to "off" conformation, thereby shutting down electron transfer in the low potential redox chain. Moreover, the novel inhibitors have lower binding affinity for both Qo and Qi sites, and hence do not interfere with binding of the natural ligands to those sites. The inhibitory activity of those novel ligands in bc1 complex is suggested to promote the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) at the Qo site. Hence those ligands are potential candidates for designing new "mitocan" drugs.

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