AMP. – Nogare, April, 1st: A scientific team of Komodo University has reported today the discovery of a gen, in the mitochondria of salivary glands of Komodo’s dragon, that apparently was the responsible of the release of thermal energy in ancient dragons.
This gen that is not expressed in nowadays dragons apparently codifies the production of Dragogenin, a multifunctional protein involved in the production of heat.
This protein was produced in the laboratories of Nogare branch of Komodo University, by the insertion of the gen in E. coli. This multifunctional protein is formed by three different subunits: Subunit DgA, which shows what have been called “a pseudo-NADH.H+ dehydrogenase activity”, subunit DgB, with an activity very similar to cytochrome oxidase, and DgC, a transmembrane protein that acts as channel used for the return of protons from the intermembane space to the mitochondrial matrix.
The NADH.H+ dehydrogenase activity of Dragonenin is very peculiar since it uses NADH.H+ as substrate but its mechanism of action is very similar to the mechanism of Complex III: it pumps protons to the intermembrane space and these protons return to the matrix through the “shortcut” channels of the transmembrane proteins (DgC), while the electrons released from the Hydrogens are transferred to the DgB subunit. Since these subunits have a similar activity to cytochrome oxidase, the electrons are eventually transferred to Oxygen.
Because of the high potential difference between the NADH.H+/NAD+ and the O2/O= systems, the reaction catalyzed by the Dragogenin releases a high amount of energy mainly in the form of heat, since the Dg-C shortcut channel acts as uncoupler, avoiding the use of the energy in the synthesis of ATP by Complex V. It seems that the generated heat was enough to vaporize the saliva in the dragon’s mouth, so, in fact, these ancient dragons could burn someone with their breath, thought the generation of fire looks improbable.
Current Dragons with repressed Dragogenin gen:
Representation of a ancient dragon that lived in Europe around V to VII centuries A.D.
Note: This post was released on April, 1st, 2009 (Happy A.F.)
Please, check this related post: About Dragon metabolism (again)