Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Biophysics

pp 614-621

Electron Transfer Proteins: Overview

  • Toshiko IchiyeAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, Georgetown University Email author 


Proteins involved in electron transfer reactions


Electron transfer proteins are essential for life because of the importance of electron transfer in bioenergetics and other processes. They contain redox-active prosthetic groups or “redox sites” where oxidation/reduction occurs. The most common redox sites contain metals such as hemes, iron-sulfur clusters, and copper centers but also include flavins, reducible disulfides, and quinones. The simplest electron transfer proteins are single domain one-electron carriers. Since they are small (6–15 kDa in molecular mass) and generally water soluble, many have been extensively characterized by experimental including very high-resolution crystallographic structures. Often, the redox site is located close to one surface of the protein, which facilitates electron transfer to other redox centers. Examples include the cytochromes, the ferredoxins, and the cupredoxins. More complex proteins may have multipl ...

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