The ATP synthase--a splendid molecular machine

Annu Rev Biochem. 1997;66:717-49. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.66.1.717.


An X-ray structure of the F1 portion of the mitochondrial ATP synthase shows asymmetry and differences in nucleotide binding of the catalytic beta subunits that support the binding change mechanism with an internal rotation of the gamma subunit. Other structural and mutational probes of the F1 and F0 portions of the ATP synthase are reviewed, together with kinetic and other evaluations of catalytic site occupancy and behavior during hydrolysis or synthesis of ATP. Subunit function as related to proton translocation and rotational catalysis is considered. Physical demonstrations of the gamma subunit rotation have been achieved. The findings have implications for other enzymatic catalyses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catalysis
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Humans
  • Hydrolysis
  • Protein Conformation
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / chemistry
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / physiology*


  • Proton-Translocating ATPases