Cell respiration process is identified

Apr 06, 2006

University of Helsinki scientists have identified an internal electron transfer reaction that starts the proton pump mechanism of the respiratory enzyme.

Researchers at the university's Institute of Biotechnology said functions of the lungs, blood circulation and red blood cells in respiration are only an overture to the physicochemical reaction in the cells where oxygen is reduced to water.

Oxygen consumption in cell respiration is a strictly controlled enzymatic reaction in the inner mitochondrial membrane. The researchers determined the respiratory enzyme cytochrome oxidase functions as a proton pump that transduces free energy from oxygen reduction into an electrochemical proton gradient, which is utilized by another enzyme to produce ATP, the cells' general energy currency.

Professor Marten Wikstrom, who led the study, said the finding opens the door toward understanding the mechanism that has been the subject of research for nearly 30 years.

The project is detailed in the current issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Explainer: How to solve a jewel heist (and why it takes so long)

Related Stories

'Seeing' hydrogen atoms to unveil enzyme catalysis

Jan 08, 2015

(Phys.org) —Enzymes are catalysts that speed up chemical reactions in living organisms and control many cellular biological processes by converting a molecule, or substrate, into a product used by the cell. ...

Solar fuels as generated by nature

Aug 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —Society's energy supply problems could be solved in the future using a model adopted from nature. During photosynthesis, plants, algae and some species of bacteria produce sugars and other energy-rich ...

Building the ideal rest stop for protons

Jul 29, 2014

Where protons, or positive charges, decide to rest makes the difference between proceeding towards ammonia (NH3) production or not, according to scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and ...

Recommended for you

Top UK scientists warn against EU exit

May 22, 2015

A group of leading British scientists including Nobel-winning geneticist Paul Nurse warned leaving the European Union could threaten research funding, in a letter published in The Times newspaper on Friday.

How we discovered the three revolutions of American pop

May 22, 2015

Dr Matthias Mauch discusses his recent scientific analysis of the "fossil record" of the Billboard charts prompted widespread attention, particularly the findings about the three musical "revolutions" that shaped the musical la ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.