F1Fo-adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthases make the energy of the proton-motive force available for energy-consuming processes in the cell. We determined the single-particle cryo-electron microscopy structure of active dimeric ATP synthase from mitochondria of Polytomella sp. at a resolution of 2.7 to 2.8 angstroms. Separation of 13 well-defined rotary substates by three-dimensional classification provides a detailed picture of the molecular motions that accompany c-ring rotation and result in ATP synthesis. Crucially, the F1 head rotates along with the central stalk and c-ring rotor for the first ~30° of each 120° primary rotary step to facilitate flexible coupling of the stoichiometrically mismatched F1 and Fo subcomplexes. Flexibility is mediated primarily by the interdomain hinge of the conserved OSCP subunit. A conserved metal ion in the proton access channel may synchronize c-ring protonation with rotation.
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