Closing the gap: yeast electron-transferring flavoprotein links the oxidation of d-lactate and d-α-hydroxyglutarate to energy production via the respiratory chain

Marina Toplak, Julia Brunner, Chaitanya R. Tabib, Peter Macheroux*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electron-transferring flavoproteins (ETFs) have been found in all kingdoms of life, mostly assisting in shuttling electrons to the respiratory chain for ATP production. While the human (h) ETF has been studied in great detail, very little is known about the biochemical properties of the homologous protein in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yETF). In view of the absence of client dehydrogenases, for example, the acyl-CoA dehydrogenases involved in the β-oxidation of fatty acids, d-lactate dehydrogenase 2 (Dld2) appeared to be the only relevant enzyme that is serviced by yETF for electron transfer to the mitochondrial electron transport chain. However, this hypothesis was never tested experimentally. Here, we report the biochemical properties of yETF and Dld2 as well as the electron transfer reaction between the two proteins. Our study revealed that Dld2 oxidizes d-α-hydroxyglutarate more efficiently than d-lactate exhibiting kcatapp/KMapp values of 1200 ± 300 m−1·s−1 and 11 ± 2 m−1·s−1, respectively. As expected, substrate-reduced Dld2 very slowly reacted with oxygen or the artificial electron acceptor 2,6-dichlorophenol indophenol. However, photoreduced Dld2 was rapidly reoxidized by oxygen, suggesting that the reaction products, that is, α-ketoglutarate and pyruvate, ‘lock’ the reduced enzyme in an unreactive state. Interestingly, however, we could demonstrate that substrate-reduced Dld2 rapidly transfers electrons to yETF. Therefore, we conclude that the formation of a product-reduced Dld2 complex suppresses electron transfer to dioxygen but favors the rapid reduction in yETF, thus preventing the loss of electrons and the generation of reactive oxygen species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3611-3628
Number of pages18
JournalThe FEBS Journal
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • d-α-hydroxyglutarate
  • electron-transferring flavoprotein
  • enzyme kinetics
  • flavin adenine dinucleotide
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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