Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 609–618 | Cite as

Mechanistic and phenomenological features of proton pumps in the respiratory chain of mitochondria

  • Sergio Papa
  • Michele Lorusso
  • Nazzareno Capitanio


Various direct, indirect (kinetic and thermodynamic), and combined mechanisms have been proposed to explain the conversion of redox energy into a transmembrane protonmotive force (Δp) by enzymatic complexes of respiratory chains. The conceptual evolution of these models is examined. The characteristics of thermodynamic coupling between redox transitions of electron carriers and scalar proton transfer in cytochromec oxidase and its possible involvement in proton pumping is discussed. Other aspects dealt with in this paper are: (i) variability of ← H+/e stoichiometries, in cytochromec oxidase and cytochromec reductase and its mechanistic implications; (ii) possible models by which the reduction of dioxygen to water at the binuclear heme-copper center of protonmotive oxidases can be directly involved in proton pumping. Finally a unifying concept for proton pumping by the redox complexes of respiratory chain is presented.

Key words

Redox proton pumps redox Bohr effect respiratory chains cytochromec oxidase cytochromec reductase NADH ubiquinone oxidoreductase 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio Papa
    • 1
  • Michele Lorusso
    • 1
  • Nazzareno Capitanio
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Medical Biochemistry and ChemistryUniversity of BariBariItaly

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