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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2011 Feb;68(4):613-34. doi: 10.1007/s00018-010-0555-8. Epub 2010 Nov 12.

Biochemistry, evolution and physiological function of the Rnf complex, a novel ion-motive electron transport complex in prokaryotes.

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Molecular Microbiology and Bioenergetics, Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, Frankfurt, Germany.


Microbes have a fascinating repertoire of bioenergetic enzymes and a huge variety of electron transport chains to cope with very different environmental conditions, such as different oxygen concentrations, different electron acceptors, pH and salinity. However, all these electron transport chains cover the redox span from NADH + H(+) as the most negative donor to oxygen/H(2)O as the most positive acceptor or increments thereof. The redox range more negative than -320 mV has been largely ignored. Here, we have summarized the recent data that unraveled a novel ion-motive electron transport chain, the Rnf complex, that energetically couples the cellular ferredoxin to the pyridine nucleotide pool. The energetics of the complex and its biochemistry, as well as its evolution and cellular function in different microbes, is discussed.

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