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SMB Faculty Seminar speaker Dr. John Peters: Electron bifurcation: A newly discovered 3rd mechanism of biological energy conservation

Dr. John Peters
Professor and Director of the Institute of Biological Chemistry
Institute of Biological Chemistry
Washington State University

"Electron bifurcation: A newly discovered 3rd mechanism of biological energy conservation"

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. The current understanding of bifurcating enzymes and the hypothetical mechanistic features required to reversibly partition multiple electrons from a single redox site into exergonic and endergonic electron transfer paths will be discussed. New insights into the mechanism of electron bifurcation from a combination of structural and optical spectroscopic work will be presented.

BLS 402

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