Mutations in the genes encoding the alpha-subunit and beta-subunit of the mitochondrial electron transfer flavoprotein (ETF) and the electron transfer flavoprotein: ubiquinone oxidoreductase ( ETF: QO) cause multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenation deficiency ( MADD), a disorder of fatty acid and amino acid metabolism. Point mutations in ETF, which may compromise folding, and/or activity, are associated with both mild and severe forms of MADD. Here we report the investigation on the conformational and stability properties of the disease-causing variant ETF beta-D128N, and our findings on the effect of flavinylation in modulating protein conformational stability and activity. A combination of biochemical and biophysical methods including circular dichroism, visible absorption, flavin, and tryptophan fluorescence emission allowed the analysis of structural changes and of the FAD moiety. The ETF beta-D128N variant retains the overall fold of the wild type, but under stress conditions its flavin becomes less tightly bound. Flavinylation is shown to improve the conformational stability and biological activity of a destabilized D128N variant protein. Moreover, the presence of flavin prevented proteolytic digestion by avoiding protein destabilization. A patient homozygous for the ETF beta-D128N mutation developed severe disease symptoms in association with a viral infection and fever. In agreement, our results suggest that heat inactivation of the mutant may be more relevant at temperatures above 37 degrees C. To mimic a situation of fever in vitro, the flavinylation status was tested at 39 degrees C. FAD exerts the effect of a pharmacological chaperone, improving ETF conformation, and yielding a more stable and active enzyme. Our results provide a structural and functional framework that could help to elucidate the role that an increased cellular FAD content obtained from riboflavin supplementation may play in the molecular pathogenesis of not only MADD, but genetic disorders of flavoproteins in general.