Reduction of 2-methoxy-1,4-naphtoquinone by mitochondrially-localized Nqo1 yielding NAD+ supports substrate-level phosphorylation during respiratory inhibition

Dora Ravasz, Gergely Kacso, Viktoria Fodor, Kata Horvath, V. Ádám-Vizi, C. Chinopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Provision of NAD+ for oxidative decarboxylation of alpha-ketoglutarate to succinyl-CoA by the ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (KGDHC) is critical for maintained operation of succinyl-CoA ligase yielding high-energy phosphates, a process known as mitochondrial substrate-level phosphorylation (mSLP). We have shown previously that when NADH oxidation by complex I is inhibited by rotenone or anoxia, mitochondrial diaphorases yield NAD+, provided that suitable quinones are present (Kiss G et al., FASEB J 2014, 28:1682). This allows for KGDHC reaction to proceed and as an extension of this, mSLP. NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) is an enzyme exhibiting diaphorase activity. Here, by using Nqo1−/− and WT littermate mice we show that in rotenone-treated, isolated liver mitochondria 2-methoxy-1,4-naphtoquinone (MNQ) is preferentially reduced by matrix Nqo1 yielding NAD+ to KGDHC, supporting mSLP. This process was sensitive to inhibition by specific diaphorase inhibitors. Reduction of idebenone and its analogues MRQ-20 and MRQ-56, menadione, mitoquinone and duroquinone were unaffected by genetic disruption of the Nqo1 gene. The results allow for the conclusions that i) MNQ is a Nqo1-preferred substrate, and ii) in the presence of suitable quinones, mitochondrially-localized diaphorases other than Nqo1 support NADH oxidation when complex I is inhibited. Our work confirms that complex I bypass can occur by quinones reduced by intramitochondrial diaphorases oxidizing NADH, ultimately supporting mSLP. Finally, it may help to elucidate structure-activity relationships of redox-active quinones with diaphorase enzymes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Complex I
  • Diaphorase
  • KGDH
  • Quinone
  • Reducing equivalent
  • Succinate-CoA ligase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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