Snapshot of an oxygen intermediate in the catalytic reaction of cytochrome c oxidase

Izumi Ishigami, Ariel Lewis-Ballester, Austin Echelmeier, Gerrit Brehm, Nadia A. Zatsepin, Thomas D. Grant, Jesse D. Coe, Stella Lisova, Garrett Nelson, Shangji Zhang, Zachary F. Dobson, Sébastien Boutet, Raymond G. Sierra, Alexander Batyuk, Petra Fromme, Raimund Fromme, John C.H. Spence, Alexandra Ros, Syun Ru Yeh, Denis L. Rousseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Cytochrome c oxidase (CcO) reduces dioxygen to water and harnesses the chemical energy to drive proton translocation across the inner mitochondrial membrane by an unresolved mechanism. By using time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography, we identified a key oxygen intermediate of bovine CcO. It is assigned to the P R -intermediate, which is characterized by specific redox states of the metal centers and a distinct protein conformation. The heme a 3 iron atom is in a ferryl (Fe 4+ = O 2− ) configuration, and heme a and Cu B are oxidized while Cu A is reduced. A Helix-X segment is poised in an open conformational state; the heme a farnesyl sidechain is H-bonded to S382, and loop-I-II adopts a distinct structure. These data offer insights into the mechanism by which the oxygen chemistry is coupled to unidirectional proton translocation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3572-3577
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 26 2019


  • Bioenergetics
  • Catalytic intermediates
  • Complex IV
  • Crystallography
  • X-ray free electron laser

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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