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New perspectives on proton pumping in cellular respiration

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2196-2221
Number of pages26
JournalChemical Reviews
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2015
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


Complexes I, III (cytochrome bc1), and IV (cytochrome c oxidase) of the respiratory chain employ fundamentally different mechanisms for redox-coupled proton pumping. In the Q-cycle of cytochrome bc1, charge separation is the result of electron transfer through the membrane, whereas the protons are shuttled across the membrane by a neutral quinol carrier, QH2. In this Q cycle, the mobile quinols get protonated on the N-side of the membrane and deprotonated on the P-side. Cytochrome bc1 thus transduces chemical energy into an electrochemical gradient through a redox loop, but is not a true proton pump in the sense of moving protonic charge through the protein directly against a pmf. By contrast, cytochrome c oxidase, the terminal enzyme of the respiratory chain, operates as a true proton pump. In cytochrome c oxidase (CcO), the pathways of chemical electron and proton fluxes intersect in the binuclear center, and the pathway of pumped protons passes close to the BNC as well. This spatial proximity of proton and electron pathways establishes the tight electrostatic interactions one might expect for a redox-coupled proton pump.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland