Skeletal muscle (SKM) requires a large amount of energy, which is produced mainly by mitochondria, for their daily functioning. Of the several mitochondrial complexes, it has been reported that the dysfunction of complex II is associated with several diseases, including myopathy. However, the degree to which complex II contributes to ATP production by mitochondria remains unknown. As complex II is not included in supercomplexes, which are formed to produce ATP efficiently, we hypothesized that complex II-linked respiration was lower than that of complex I. In addition, differences in the characteristics of complex I and II activity suggest that different factors might regulate their function. The isolated mitochondria from gastrocnemius muscle was used for mitochondrial respiration measurement and immunoblotting in male C57BL/6J mice. Student paired t-tests were performed to compare means between two groups. A univariate linear regression model was used to determine the correlation between mitochondrial respiration and proteins. Contrary to our hypothesis, complex II-linked respiration was not significantly less than complex I-linked respiration in SKM mitochondria (complex I vs complex II, 3402 vs 2840 pmol/[s × mg]). Complex I-linked respiration correlated with the amount of complex I incorporated in supercomplexes (r = 0.727, p < 0.05), but not with the total amount of complex I subunits. In contrast, complex II-linked respiration correlated with the total amount of complex II (r = 0.883, p < 0.05), but not with the amount of each complex II subunit. We conclude that both complex I and II play important roles in mitochondrial respiration and that the assembly of both supercomplexes and complex II is essential for the normal functioning of complex I and II in mouse SKM mitochondria.
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