Ilicicolin H is an antibiotic isolated from the "imperfect" fungus Cylindrocladium iliciola strain MFC-870. Ilicicolin inhibits mitochondrial respiration by inhibiting the cytochrome bc(1) complex. In order to identify the site of ilicicolin action within the bc(1) complex we have characterized the effects of ilicicolin on the cytochrome bc(1) complex of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Ilicicolin inhibits ubiquinol-cytochrome c reductase activity of the yeast bc(1) complex with an IC(50) of 3-5 nM, while 200-250 nM ilicicolin was required to obtain comparable inhibition of the bovine bc(1) complex. Ilicicolin blocks oxidation-reduction of cytochrome b through center N of the bc(1) complex and promotes oxidant-induced reduction of cytochrome b but has no effect on oxidation of ubiquinol through center P. These results indicate that ilicicolin binds to the Qn site of the bc(1) complex. Ilicicolin induces a blue shift in the absorption spectrum of ferro-cytochrome b, and titration of the spectral shift indicates binding of one inhibitor molecule per Qn site. The effects of ilicicolin on electron transfer reactions in the bc(1) complex are similar to those of antimycin, another inhibitor that binds to the Qn site of the bc(1) complex. However, because the two inhibitors have different effects on the absorption spectrum of cytochrome b, they differ in their mode of binding to the Qn site.
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