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New study sheds light on evolutionary origin of oxygen-based cellular respiration
Date:1/22/2012

protons out using energy from an oxygen reduction reaction. The enzyme powering this mechanism, cytochrome oxidase (COX), is genetically and structurally similar to NOR, suggesting a common ancestor. No evidence of any "pump", however, has been detected in anaerobic organisms.

That is, until now. Using radiation from the RIKEN SPring-8 facility in Harima, Japan, the world's largest synchrotron radiation facility, the researchers probed the 3D structure of qNOR and discovered a channel acting as a proton transfer pathway for a key catalytic reaction. While not itself a proton pump, the position and function of this pathway suggest it is an ancestor of the proton pump found in COX. The finding thus establishes first-ever evidence for a proton pump in anaerobic organisms, shedding light onto the mysterious mechanisms governing the production of nitrogen oxide and the evolutionary path that led to their emergence.


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Contact: RIKEN Global Relations Office
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RIKEN
Source:Eurekalert  

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