Mechanistic insights into energy conservation by flavin-based electron bifurcation

Carolyn E. Lubner, David P. Jennings, David W. Mulder, Gerrit J. Schut, Oleg A. Zadvornyy, John P. Hoben, Monika Tokmina-Lukaszewska, Luke Berry, Diep M. Nguyen, Gina L. Lipscomb, Brian Bothner, Anne Jones, Anne Frances Miller, Paul W. King, Michael W.W. Adams, John W. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


The recently realized biochemical phenomenon of energy conservation through electron bifurcation provides biology with an elegant means to maximize utilization of metabolic energy. The mechanism of coordinated coupling of exergonic and endergonic oxidation-reduction reactions by a single enzyme complex has been elucidated through optical and paramagnetic spectroscopic studies revealing unprecedented features. Pairs of electrons are bifurcated over more than 1 volt of electrochemical potential by generating a low-potential, highly energetic, unstable flavin semiquinone and directing electron flow to an iron-sulfur cluster with a highly negative potential to overcome the barrier of the endergonic half reaction. The unprecedented range of thermodynamic driving force that is generated by flavin-based electron bifurcation accounts for unique chemical reactions that are catalyzed by these enzymes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-659
Number of pages5
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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