The role of mitochondrial complex I in ultraweak photon-induced delayed photon emission [delayed luminescence (DL)] of human leukemia Jurkat T cells was probed by using complex I targeting agents like rotenone, menadione, and quercetin. Rotenone, a complex I-specific inhibitor, dose-dependently increased the mitochondrial level of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), decreased clonogenic survival, and induced apoptosis. A strong correlation was found between the mitochondrial levels of NADH and oxidized flavin mononucleotide () in rotenone-, menadione- and quercetin-treated cells. Rotenone enhanced DL dose-dependently, whereas quercetin and menadione inhibited DL as well as NADH or . Collectively, the data suggest that DL of Jurkat cells originates mainly from mitochondrial complex I, which functions predominantly as a dimer and less frequently as a tetramer. In individual monomers, both pairs of pyridine nucleotide (NADH/reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) sites and flavin (FMN-a/FMN-b) sites appear to bind cooperatively their specific ligands. Enhancement of delayed red-light emission by rotenone suggests that the mean time for one-electron reduction of ubiquinone or FMN-a by the terminal Fe/S center (N2) is 20 or 284 μs, respectively. All these findings suggest that DL spectroscopy could be used as a reliable, sensitive, and robust technique to probe electron flow within complex I in situ.