Electron bifurcation

John W. Peters, Anne Frances Miller, Anne K. Jones, Paul W. King, Michael W.W. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Electron bifurcation is the recently recognized third mechanism of biological energy conservation. It simultaneously couples exergonic and endergonic oxidation-reduction reactions to circumvent thermodynamic barriers and minimize free energy loss. Little is known about the details of how electron bifurcating enzymes function, but specifics are beginning to emerge for several bifurcating enzymes. To date, those characterized contain a collection of redox cofactors including flavins and iron-sulfur clusters. Here we discuss the current understanding of bifurcating enzymes and the mechanistic features required to reversibly partition multiple electrons from a single redox site into exergonic and endergonic electron transfer paths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-152
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported as part of the Biological and Electron Transfer and Catalysis (BETCy) EFRC, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science ( DE-SC0012518 ). P.W.K. was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under contract no. DE-AC36-08-GO28308 with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. We thank the entire BETCy team for helpful discussions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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