Electron Transport Chain
The electron transport is an important event in the production of ATP and it utilizes four enzymatic complexes adjoined to the membrane of the mitochondria. The electron conveys the electrons to the electron transport chain to make contact with the final electron acceptor molecule oxygen and results in the generation of water.
NADH-coenzyme Q oxidoreductase: It is the initial protein complex in the electron transport chain, and it involves two-electron oxidation of the NADH molecule for forming NAD + H+. Two electrons are initially provided to the flavin mononucleotide and the electrons are further conveyed individually through an iron-sulfur center for generating a proton gradient. Two hydrogen ions are transported to the mitochondrial matrix and mediate the reduction of ubiquinone to ubiquinol. Four protons are pumped by the first respiratory chain complex to the inner membrane space and contribute to the formation of an ATP molecule.
Succinate-Q oxidoreductase: The second respiratory chain complex is unable to pump protons and it mediates the oxidation of succinate for the formation of fumarate. The ubiquinone is also reduced in the second respiratory chain complex. The conversion of FAD to FADH2 takes place with the intake of two hydrogen atoms, which are further transferred through the iron-sulfur center followed by the ubiquinone. The second respiratory complex generates less energy and fails to transfer protons through the membrane.
Cytochrome C oxidoreductase: The third respiratory chain complex is composed of three proteins namely cytochrome c, cytochrome b, and the iron-sulfur protein. Complex 3 involves the oxidation of ubiquinol followed by the reduction of two cytochrome c molecules. Only one electron is transported by a cytochrome molecule and the process of cytochrome 3 occurs through two steps. The ubiquinone adjoins to the complex of the third respiratory chain complex.
Cytochrome oxidase: The oxygen molecule is reduced at complex 4 by utilizing the electrons collected from the cytochrome-C. The cytochrome oxidase is composed of three subunits such as subunit 1, subunit 2 the subunit 3 with characteristic roles. The oxygen molecule undergoes contact with the electrons for the formation of a water molecule. Two protons are pumped through the membrane by the fourth respiratory chain complex for creating a proton motive force.
Chemiosmotic Theory and ATP Synthase
The proton motive force generated by the enzymatic complexes powers the enzyme ATP synthases for the production of ATP molecules. The ATP is produced with the convey of the protons to the mitochondrial matrix. The movement of protons according to the concentration gradient will rotate the stalk and rotor of the ATP synthase along with the addition of an inorganic phosphate molecule to the ADP for forming the ATP. The enzymatic complex ATP synthase is composed of two subunits called F0 and F1 subunits. The F0 subunit mediates the transfer of proteins and the F1 subunit mediates the generation of ATP from the ADP and inorganic phosphate molecule. The F0 subunit is rotated with the transfer of protons and forces the formation of ATP in the F1 subunit. The transduction of electrochemical energy to mechanical energy takes place with the rotation of the stalk and causes a conformational change in the F1 subunit. The transfer of four protons through the F0 subunit causes the generation of an ATP molecule.
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