Quinohemoprotein-cytochrome c complex alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) of acetic acid bacteria consists of three subunits, of which subunit I contains pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) and heme c, and subunit II contains three heme c components. The PQQ and heme c components are believed to be involved in the intramolecular electron transfer from ethanol to ubiquinone. To study the intramolecular electron transfer in ADH of Acetobacter methanolicus, the redox potentials of heme c components were determined with ADH complex and the isolated subunits I and II of A. methanolicus, as well as hybrid ADH consisting of the subunit I/III complex of Gluconobacter suboxydans ADH and subunit II of A. methanolicus ADH. The redox potentials of hemes c in ADH complex were -130, 49, 188, and 188 mV at pH 7.0 and 24, 187, 190, and 255 mV at pH 4.5. In hybrid ADH, one of these heme c components was largely changed in the redox potential. Reduced ADH was fully oxidized with potassium ferricyanide, while ubiquinone oxidized the enzyme partially. The results indicate that electrons extracted from ethanol at PQQ site are transferred to ubiquinone via heme c in subunit I and two of the three hemes c in subunit II. Copyright 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.