European Biophysics Journal

, Volume 40, Issue 12, pp 1283–1299 | Cite as

Another look at the interaction between mitochondrial cytochrome c and flavocytochrome b 2



Yeast flavocytochrome b 2 tranfers reducing equivalents from lactate to oxygen via cytochrome c and cytochrome c oxidase. The enzyme catalytic cycle includes FMN reduction by lactate and reoxidation by intramolecular electron transfer to heme b 2. Each subunit of the soluble tetrameric enzyme consists of an N terminal b 5-like heme-binding domain and a C terminal flavodehydrogenase. In the crystal structure, FMN and heme are face to face, and appear to be in a suitable orientation and at a suitable distance for exchanging electrons. But in one subunit out of two, the heme domain is disordered and invisible. This raises a central question: is this mobility required for interaction with the physiological acceptor cytochrome c, which only receives electrons from the heme and not from the FMN? The present review summarizes the results of the variety of methods used over the years that shed light on the interactions between the flavin and heme domains and between the enzyme and cytochrome c. The conclusion is that one should consider the interaction between the flavin and heme domains as a transient one, and that the cytochrome c and the flavin domain docking areas on the heme b 2 domain must overlap at least in part. The heme domain mobility is an essential component of the flavocytochrome b 2 functioning. In this respect, the enzyme bears similarity to a variety of redox enzyme systems, in particular those in which a cytochrome b 5-like domain is fused to proteins carrying other redox functions.


Cytochrome b5 Cytochrome c Electron transfer Flavin Flavocytochrome b2 Domain mobility 


Cyt. b5

Cytochrome b 5

Cyt. c

Cytochrome c


Cytochrome c peroxidase


Electron transfer


Flavocytochrome b 2






Two-electron reduced flavin


Flavin semiquinone


Oxidized flavin


Intermolecular electron transfer


Reduced heme


Oxidized heme


Wild type


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© European Biophysical Societies' Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Chimie Physique, Faculté des SciencesUniversité Paris-SudOrsay CedexFrance

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