Complex IV Also Transports Protons Across the Inner Mitochondrial Membrane

The reduction of oxygen in Complex IV is accompanied by transport of protons across the inner mitochondrial membrane. Transfer of four electrons through this complex drives the transport of approximately four protons. The mechanism of proton transport is unknown but is thought to involve the steps from state P to state O (Figure 21.20). Four protons are taken up on the matrix side for every two protons transported to the cytoplasm (see Figure 21.17).

FIGURE 21.18 • (a) The CuA site of cytochrome oxidase. Copper ligands include two histidine imidazole groups and two cysteine side chains from the protein. (b) The coordination of histidine imidazole ligands to the iron atom in the heme a center of cytochrome oxidase.

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