Oxygen activation and the conservation of energy in cell respiration

Nature. 1992 Mar 26;356(6367):301-9. doi: 10.1038/356301a0.


Many of the membrane-associated oxidases that catalyse respiratory reduction of O2 to water simultaneously couple this exergonic reaction to the translocation of protons across the inner mitochondrial membrane, or the cell membrane in prokaryotes, a process by which metabolic energy is conserved for subsequent synthesis of ATP. The molecular mechanism of O2 reduction and its linkage to H+ translocation are now emerging. The bimetallic haem iron-copper reaction centre in this family of enzymes is the critical structure for catalysis of both these processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Heme / chemistry
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Mitochondria / physiology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen / chemistry*
  • Peroxides / chemistry
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / physiology
  • Thermodynamics
  • Water / chemistry


  • Peroxides
  • Water
  • Heme
  • Electron Transport Complex IV
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases
  • Oxygen