The proton pump of the mitochondrial bc1 complex.
ABSTRACT The molecular mechanism of the proton pump activity by the respiratory chain bc1 complex is still unknown. This group has proposed since long time that protonation/deprotonation events in the apoproteins of the complex are cooperatively linked to the oxido-reduction reactions at the quinone catalytic centre. Protolytic residues in the apoproteins can thus provide proton transfer pathways between the bulk aqueons phases and the redox centre. A series of experiments has been carried out aimed at demonstrating a role of particular complex subunits in the pump process. In this paper recent results are reviewed which have evidenced a definite role of polypeptide carboxyl residues in the proton pump mechanism. In particular, experiments carried out with both the bovine and P. denitrificans purified enzymes have indicated a specific involvement of aspartic residue(s) in the Rieske Fe/S protein in the proton pump function.