The sensitivity of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) oxidase and succinoxidase to metal chelators, the generation of an electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) signal upon addition of these substrates, and the rate of formation of the EPR signal relative to the rate of the cytochrome reduction suggest the participation of nonheme iron proteins in the respiratory process of Escherichia coli. The most inhibitory metal chelator, thenoyltrifluoro acetone, inhibited the reduction of nonheme iron and cytochromes but did not prevent the reoxidation of the reduced forms. The EPR signal, dehydrogenase, and oxidase activities evoked by NADH are considerably greater than the corresponding activities evoked by succinate. Because both substrates can reduce almost all of the cytochromes, a model in which fewer succinate dehydrogenase-nonheme iron protein complexes are linked to a common cytochrome chain than NADH dehydrogenase-nonheme iron protein complexes is considered likely.

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