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Photosynth Res. 2004;79(1):25-44.

The Cytochrome bc (1) Complex and its Homologue the b (6) f Complex: Similarities and Differences.

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DIEP, DSV, CEA VALRHO, 30207, Bagnols sur C├Ęze, France.


The ubihydroquinone:cytochrome c oxidoreductase (also called complex III, or bc (1) complex), is a multi subunit enzyme encountered in a very broad variety of organisms including uni- and multi-cellular eukaryotes, plants (in their mitochondria) and bacteria. Most bacteria and mitochondria harbor various forms of the bc (1) complex, while plant and algal chloroplasts as well as cyanobacteria contain a homologous protein complex called plastohydroquinone:plastocyanin oxidoreductase or b (6) f complex. Together, these enzyme complexes constitute the superfamily of the bc complexes. Depending on the physiology of the organisms, they often play critical roles in respiratory and photosynthetic electron transfer events, and always contribute to the generation of the proton motive force subsequently used by the ATP synthase. Primarily, this review is focused on comparing the 'mitochondrial-type' bc (1) complex and the 'chloroplast-type' b (6) f complex both in terms of structure and function. Specifically, subunit composition, cofactor content and assembly, inhibitor sensitivity, proton pumping, concerted electron transfer and Fe-S subunit large-scale domain movement of these complexes are discussed. This is a timely undertaking in light of the structural information that is emerging for the b (6) f complex.

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