Respiratory chain supercomplexes in the plant mitochondrial membrane

Trends Plant Sci. 2006 May;11(5):232-40. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2006.03.007. Epub 2006 Apr 17.


The intricate, heavily folded inner membrane of mitochondria houses the respiratory chain complexes. These complexes, together with the ATP synthase complex, are responsible for energy production, which is stored as ATP. The structure of the individual membrane-bound protein components has been well characterized. In particular, the use of Blue-native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis has been instrumental in recent years in providing evidence that these components are organized into supercomplexes. Single particle electron microscopy studies have enabled a structural characterization of some of the mitochondrial supercomplexes. This has provided the opportunity to define a functional role for these supercomplexes for the first time, in particular for the dimeric ATP synthase complex, which appears to be responsible for the folding of the inner mitochondrial membrane.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Electron Transport / physiology
  • Electron Transport Chain Complex Proteins / chemistry
  • Electron Transport Chain Complex Proteins / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Mitochondrial Proton-Translocating ATPases / chemistry
  • Mitochondrial Proton-Translocating ATPases / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / physiology*


  • Electron Transport Chain Complex Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proton-Translocating ATPases