Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2015 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, Daniele L. Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Daniel Rouan, Tilman Spohn, Stéphane Tirard, Michel Viso


  • Francisco MonteroEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-44185-5_1367



At cell level, respiration is the process in which biological systems oxidize different substrates, where the oxidizing agent is a substance that is external to the system itself. Historically, the term has been used when the substance which is the external  electron acceptor is oxygen ( aerobic respiration). However, this definition should be widened to include the cases where the external electron acceptor is a substance other than oxygen (anaerobic respiration).


Respiration is a common way for living organisms to obtain energy. The process is a source of oxidation for various cellular components, such as NADH, succinate, acyl-CoA, etc., which are produced either by the catabolism of substances taken from the exterior or directly from a component taken from the exterior, such as methanol (this is the case for Paracoccus denitrificans, which can grow on methanol) or Fe 2+ (in the case of Acidithiobacillus...


Cellular respiration Chemiosmotic hypothesis Electron transport Energy transduction Oxidative phosphorylation 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Further Reading

  1. Berry EA, Guergova-Kuras M, Huang LS, Crofts AR (2000) Structure and function of cytochrome bc complexes. Annu Rev Biochem 69:1005–1075CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Castresana J (2001) Comparative genomics and bioenergetics. Biochim Biophys Acta 1506:147–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Castresana J (2004) Evolution and phylogenetic analysis of respiration. In: Zannoni D (ed) Respiration in archaea and bacteria. Diversity of prokaryotic electron transport carriers, vol 15. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 1–14Google Scholar
  4. Cecchini G (2003) Function and structure of complex II of the respiratory chain. Annu Rev Biochem 72:77–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Emerson D, Fleming EJ, McBeth JM (2010) Iron-oxidizing bacteria: an environmental and genomic perspective. Annu Rev Microbiol 64:561–583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ferguson SJ, Sorgato MC (1982) Proton electrochemical gradients and energy-transduction processes. Annu Rev Biochem 51:185–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mitchell P (1961) Coupling of phosphorylation to electron and hydrogen transfer by a chemi-osmotic type of mechanism. Nature 191:144–148CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  8. Nicholls DG, Ferguson SJ (2002) Respiratory chains. In: Bioenergetics3. Academic, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Trumpower BL (1994) Energy transduction by cytochrome complexes in mitochondrial and bacterial respiration. Annu Rev Biochem 63:675–716CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Wallace DC, Fan W, Procaccio V (2010) Mitochondrial energetics and therapeutics. Annu Rev Pathol 5:297–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I, Facultad de Ciencias QuímicasUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain