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FEBS Lett. 2012 Mar 9;586(5):630-9. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2011.08.037. Epub 2011 Aug 30.

Cytochrome c oxidase: Intermediates of the catalytic cycle and their energy-coupled interconversion.

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A.N. Belozersky Institute, Moscow State University, Moscow 119991, Russia.


Several issues relevant to the current studies of cytochrome c oxidase catalytic mechanism are discussed. The following points are raised. (1) The terminology currently used to describe the catalytic cycle of cytochrome oxidase is outdated and rather confusing. Presumably, it would be revised so as to share nomenclature of the intermediates with other oxygen-reactive heme enzymes like P450 or peroxidases. (2) A "catalytic cycle" of cytochrome oxidase involving complete reduction of the enzyme by 4 electrons followed by oxidation by O(2) is a chimera composed artificially from two partial reactions, reductive and oxidative phases, that never operate together as a true multi-turnover catalytic cycle. The 4e(-) reduction-oxidation cycle would not serve a paradigm for oxygen reduction mechanism and protonmotive function of cytochrome oxidase. (3) The foremost role of the K-proton channel in the catalytic cycle may consist in securing faultless delivery of protons for heterolytic O-O bond cleavage in the oxygen-reducing site, minimizing the danger of homolytic scission reaction route. (4) Protonmotive mechanism of cytochrome oxidase may vary notably for the different single-electron steps in the catalytic cycle.

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