A new era for electron bifurcation


John W. Peters, David N. Beratan, Brian Bothner, R. Brian Dyer, Caroline S. Harwood, Zachariah M. Heiden, Russ Hille, Anne K. Jones, Paul W. King, Yi Lu, Carolyn E. Lubner, Shelley D. Minteer, David W. Mulder, Simone Raugei, Gerrit J. Schut, Lance C. Seefeldt, Monika Tokmina-Lukaszewska, Oleg A. Zadvornyy, Peng Zhang, Michael W. Adams


Current Opinion in Chemical Biology


Electron bifurcation, or the coupling of exergonic and endergonic oxidation-reduction reactions, was discovered by Peter Mitchell and provides an elegant mechanism to rationalize and understand the logic that underpins the Q cycle of the respiratory chain. Thought to be a unique reaction of respiratory complex III for nearly 40 years, about a decade ago Wolfgang Buckel and Rudolf Thauer discovered that flavin-based electron bifurcation is also an important component of anaerobic microbial metabolism. Their discovery spawned a surge of research activity, providing a basis to understand flavin-based bifurcation, forging fundamental parallels with Mitchell's Q cycle and leading to the proposal of metal-based bifurcating enzymes. New insights into the mechanism of electron bifurcation provide a foundation to establish the unifying principles and essential elements of this fascinating biochemical phenomenon.



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