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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Apr 12;1655(1-3):353-64.

A cooperative model for proton pumping in cytochrome c oxidase.

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Department of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy.


In this paper, the mechanism of proton pumping in cytochrome c oxidase is examined. Data on cooperative linkage of vectorial proton translocation to oxido-reduction of Cu(A) and heme a in the CO-inhibited, liposome-reconstituted bovine cytochrome c oxidase are reviewed. Results on proton translocation associated to single-turnover oxido-reduction of the four metal centers in the unliganded, membrane-reconstituted oxidase are also presented. On the basis of these results, X-ray crystallographic structures and spectrometric data for a proton pumping model in cytochrome c oxidase is proposed. This model, which is specifically derived from data available for the bovine cytochrome c oxidase, is intended to illustrate the essential features of cooperative coupling of proton translocation at the low potential redox site. Variants will have to be introduced for those members of the heme copper oxidase family which differ in the redox components of the low potential site and in the amino acid network connected to this site. The model we present describes in detail steps of cooperative coupling of proton pumping at the low potential Cu(A)-heme a site in the bovine enzyme. It is then outlined how this cooperative proton transfer can be thermodynamically and kinetically coupled to the chemistry of oxygen reduction to water at the high potential Cu(B)-heme a(3) center, so as to result in proton pumping, in the turning-over enzyme, against a transmembrane electrochemical proton gradient of some 250 mV.

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