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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe how electrons move through the electron transport chain and what happens to their energy levels
  • Explain how a proton (H + ) gradient is established and maintained by the electron transport chain

In the last module we discussed the various ways cells synthesize ATP and had a detailed discussion on substrate level phosphorylation. The second primary mechanism for ATP and energy formation is by oxidative phosphorylation. First and foremost, oxidative phosphorylation does not imply the use of oxygen, it can, but it does not have to use oxygen. It is called oxidative phosphorylation because it relies on red/ox reactions to generate a membrane potential that can then be used to do work. One of the "machines" that can be driven by the membrane potential, also referred to as the proton motive force or PMF , is the F 1 F 0 ATPase . Unlike SLP, which directly synthesizes ATP, Oxidative Phosphorylation is an indirect mechanism. It is derived from a process that begins with moving electrons through a series of electron transporters or carriers that undergo red/ox reactions. The energy released from these reactions leads to the movement of protons across a membrane. This accumulation of protons on ones side of the membrane "polarizes" or "charges" the membrane, with a net positive (protons) on one side of the membrane and a negative charge on the other side of the membrane. this is called an electrical potential due to the charge separation. In addition, the accumulation of protons also causes a pH gradient to form across the membrane and is referred to as the chemical potential . Together this is called an electro-chemical gradient across the membrane. Think of this as a cellular capacitor, as the charge and pH gradient grows more and more energy is stored and can be used to do work, such as driving the F 1 F 0 ATPase and generating ATP indirectly.

Below the basic concepts of oxidative phosphorylation are described. Remember for ATP synthesis to occur two criteria must be met, the first is the formation of the membrane potential via a series of red/ox reactions, referred to as an electron transport chain and second, a membrane bound, proton driven F 1 F 0 ATPase, that uses the potential energy from the PMF to drive the formation of ATP by allowing protons to move from the higher concentration on one side of the membrane to the other side of lower concentration. Nowhere is molecular oxygen required for this to happen. Oxygen is a terrific terminal electron acceptor and allows for a very efficient way to generate a large PMF, however, other compounds such as hydrogen sulfide can also act as terminal electron acceptors. The eukaryotic mitochondrion has evolved an incredibly efficient electron transport chain to maximize ATP production for every 2 high energy electrons that enter the chain. While this mitochondrial electron transport chain is what we (eukaryotes) use, the diversity of the electron transport chain in nature is one of the most amazing features of life on this planet. Think about all of the unique and inhospitable places there are on this planet, yet some form of life can survive there. It makes one think about the possibility of life on other worlds. Remember all that is required is a donor of high energy electrons, carriers to move the electrons by red/ox reactions in a membrane, and a terminal electron acceptor. As we will discuss below, as long as the terminal electron acceptor has a higher affinity for the electrons than the electron donor, the electrons will move, and the energy can be captured by the cell.

Questions & Answers

I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
what does post-translational control refer to?
Teresa Reply
Bioremediation includes
Rachel Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Ucd bis2a intro to biology v1.2. OpenStax CNX. Sep 22, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11890/1.1
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