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Oxidative Phosphorylation at the fin de siècle

Mitochondria produce most of the energy in animal cells by a process called oxidative phosphorylation. Electrons are passed along a series of respiratory enzyme complexes located in the inner mitochondrial membrane, and the energy released by this electron transfer is used to pump protons across the membrane. The resultant electrochemical gradient enables another complex, adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) synthase, to synthesize the energy carrier ATP. Important new mechanistic insights into oxidative phosphorylation have emerged from recent three-dimensional structural analyses of ATP synthase and two of the respiratory enzyme complexes, cytochrome bc1 and cytochrome c oxidase. This work, and new enzymological studies of ATP synthase's unusual catalytic mechanism, are reviewed here.

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Resource Type: Journal article/Issue, Review, Illustration
Audience Level: High school upper division 11-12, Undergraduate lower division 13-14, Undergraduate upper division 15-16, Continuing education

Author and Copyright


Authors and Editors: Matti Saraste of European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Publisher: AAAS
Format: text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: No

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