* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received January 15, 2001; Revision received June 4, 2001
A fast and reproducible procedure was elaborated for isolation of tightly coupled mitochondria from wild type and nap-mutant Neurospora crassa cellsharvested at different growth stages. The isolated mitochondrial preparations had controlled metabolic states and were tightly coupled, i.e., displayed good respiratory control and had close to the theoretically expected maximal ADP/O ratios upon oxidation of Krebs cycle intermediates and exogenous NADH. They contained the fully competent respiratory chain with all three points of energy conservation. Oxidation of all examined substrates by mitochondria from both wild type and mutant cells was mediated by two alternative terminal oxidative systems, albeit to varying extent, with the more pronounced engagement of the alternative oxidase in the stationary growth phase and with a minor contribution of this non-phosphorylating pathway in the substrate oxidation by mutant mitochondria. Oxidation of NAD-dependent substrates by mitochondria from the two cell types was accommodated via both rotenone-sensitive and rotenone-insensitive pathways, while the level of rotenone-insensitive pathway in mutant cells was lower than in wild type cells. It is suggested that a more limited contribution of alternative non-phosphorylating oxidative pathways to the total respiration in mutant cells, as compared with wild type cells, could, at least partially, explain an elevated ATP level in these cells. However, the absence of principal differences in the arrangement of the respiratory chain in mitochondria of wild type and mutant cells implies that the elevated ATP level in the nap mutant is largely related to reduced ATP expenses for transport processes in these cells.
KEY WORDS: fungi, Neurospora crassa, nap mutant, mitochondria, respiratory chain