Hydroxamic acids, R-CONHOH, are inhibitors specific to the respiratory pathway through the alternate, cyanide-insensitive terminal oxidase of plant mitochondria. The nature of the R group in these compounds affects the concentration at which the hydroxamic acids are effective, but it appears that all hydroxamic acids inhibit if high enough concentrations are used. The benzhydroxamic acids are effective at relatively low concentrations; of these, the most effective are m -chlorobenzhydroxamic acid and m -iodobenzhydroxamic acid. The concentrations required for half-maximal inhibition of the alternate oxidase pathway in mung bean ( Phaseolus aureus ) mitochondria are 0.03 m m for m -chlorobenzhydroxamic acid and 0.02 m m for m -iodobenzhydroxamic acid. With skunk cabbage ( Symplocarpus foetidus ) mitochondria, the required concentrations are 0.16 for m -chlorobenzhydroxamic acid and 0.05 for m -iodobenzhydroxamic acid. At concentrations which inhibit completely the alternate oxidase pathway, these two compounds have no discernible effect on either the respiratory pathway through cytochrome oxidase, or on the energy coupling reactions of these mitochondria. These inhibitors make it possible to isolate the two respiratory pathways and study their mode of action separately. These inhibitors also enhance an electron paramagnetic resonance signal near g = 2 in anaerobic, submitochondrial particles from skunk cabbage, which appears to be specific to the alternate oxidase and thus provides a means for its assay.
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