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Project 8 Prof. Carola Hunte

Cofactor–mediated electron transfer in cellular respiration

Biological energy conversion relies on cofactor-mediated transfer of electrons, which requires precise spatial and temporal control of the distance, orientation and environment of cofactors. A first snapshot of a transient electron-transfer complex of the respiratory chain was captured with X-ray structures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cyt bc1 complex with the mobile carrier cytochrome c bound. The main focus of the project is to characterize this electron-transfer complex in detail in order to elucidate fundamental principles of architecture and mechanism of cofactor-mediated electron transfer. We will address fundamental questions with genetic, biochemical and biophysical methods.

Figure 1: (A) Structure of cytochrome bc1 complex from S. cerevisiae with cytochrome c (green) bound at 1.9-Å resolution. (B) Close-up view of cofactors, substrate and inhibitor molecules as in A with 2Fe-2S cluster in b and c1 position (yellow). (C) Close-up view with domain movement of Rieske domain that facilitates electron transfer between Qo site and heme c1.(Figure from Hunte, Solmaz, Palsdottir, Wenz, Results Probl Cell Differ., 2011).



Prof. Dr. Carola Hunte

Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies

Stefan-Meier-Str. 17

79104 Freiburg

Phone: +49 (0) 761 203-5279

Fax: +49 (0) 761 203-5284


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