P/O ratios of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Jan 7;1706(1-2):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2004.09.004.


Mitochondrial mechanistic P/O ratios are still in question. The major studies since 1937 are summarized and various systematic errors are discussed. Values of about 2.5 with NADH-linked substrates and 1.5 with succinate are consistent with most reports after apparent contradictions are explained. Variability of coupling may occur under some conditions but is generally not significant. The fractional values result from the coupling ratios of proton transport. An additional revision of P/O ratios may be required because of a report of the structure of ATP synthase (D. Stock, A.G.W. Leslie, J.E. Walker, Science 286 (1999) 1700-1705) which suggests that the H+/ATP ratio is 10/3, rather than 3, consistent with P/O ratios of 2.3 with NADH and 1.4 with succinate, values that are also possible.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Electron Transport
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism
  • NAD / metabolism
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation*
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Succinic Acid / metabolism
  • Thermodynamics


  • NAD
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Succinic Acid
  • Mitochondrial Proton-Translocating ATPases
  • Oxygen