Discovery of ubiquinone (coenzyme Q) and an overview of function

Mitochondrion. 2007 Jun;7 Suppl:S2-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2007.02.011. Epub 2007 Mar 16.


Details of the discovery of ubiquinone (coenzyme Q) are described in the context of research on mitochondria in the early 1950s. The importance of the research environment created by David E. Green to the recognition of the compound and its role in mitochondria is emphasized as well as the dedicated work of Karl Folkers to find the medical and nutritional significance. The development of diverse functions of the quinone from electron carrier and proton carrier in mitochondria to proton transport in other membranes and uncoupling protein control as well as antioxidant and prooxidant functions is introduced. The successful application in medicine points the way for future development.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Biochemistry / history*
  • Biochemistry / methods
  • Electron Transport
  • Electrons
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Protons
  • Quinones / chemistry
  • Ubiquinone / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Protons
  • Quinones
  • Ubiquinone