Beyond the chemiosmotic theory: analysis of key fundamental aspects of energy coupling in oxidative phosphorylation in the light of a torsional mechanism of energy transduction and ATP synthesis--invited review part 1

J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2010 Aug;42(4):293-300. doi: 10.1007/s10863-010-9296-5. Epub 2010 May 20.


In Part 1 of this invited article, we consider the fundamental aspects of energy coupling in oxidative phosphorylation. The central concepts of the chemiosmotic theory are re-examined and the major problems with its experimental verification are analyzed and reassessed from first principles. Several of its assumptions and interpretations (with regard, for instance, to consideration of the membrane as an inert barrier, the occurrence of energy transduction at thermodynamic equilibrium, the completely delocalized nature of the protonmotive force, and the notion of indirect coupling) are shown to be questionable. Important biological implications of this analysis for molecular mechanisms of biological energy transduction are enumerated. A fresh molecular mechanism of the uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation by classical weak acid anion uncouplers and an adequate explanation for the existence of uncoupler-resistant mutants (which until now has remained a mystery) has been proposed based on novel insights arising from a new torsional mechanism of energy transduction and ATP synthesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / biosynthesis*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / chemistry*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • Proton-Motive Force*
  • Thermodynamics


  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • F1F0-ATP synthase
  • Mitochondrial Proton-Translocating ATPases