Structure of Cytochrome c Oxidase
Cytochrome c oxidase (EC 220.127.116.11) is a multisubunit enzyme containing two heme a moieties and two copper atoms as prosthetic groups, functioning to catalyze the reduction of molecular oxygen to water in the reaction: 4 cytochrome c 2+ + 4H+ + O2 ⇌ 4 cytochrome c 3+ + 2H2O. The energy released during this electron transfer reaction is conserved by the oxidase complex as a proton gradient (Wikström, 1977; Wikström and Saari, 1977; Casey et al., 1979) for subsequent use in ion transport or ATP synthesis. Our goals in studying the structure of cytochrome c oxidase are not only to understand the functioning of the enzyme but also to determine those features of the protein that allow it to integrate into the membrane, an environment where it is partly buried in an essentially hydrocarbon medium and partly exposed to water. In this short review we describe our recent progress in determining the structure of beef heart cytochrome c oxidase.
KeywordsProsthetic Group Subunit Structure Oxidase Complex Beef Heart Paracoccus Denitrificans
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