Rapid kinetics reveal surprising flavin chemistry in the bifurcating electron transfer flavoprotein from Acidaminococcus fermentans.
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The way electrons pairs separate to help drive challenging cellular processes can occur in unexpected ways.
In nature, electron bifurcation separates electron pairs such that the energy embedded in the pair is not shared equally. The resulting high-energy electron can help organisms to complete challenging reactions essential to their function. But these electron-bifurcation processes can occur so fast that it is difficult to understand the molecular mechanism at play.
Using rapid kinetics techniques, an international team that included a Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology researcher studied an electron-bifurcation process involving the electron-transfer flavoprotein, isolated from an anaerobic gut bacterium.
The team showed how electron acceptance at one subunit of electron-transfer flavoprotein alters the behaviour of the neighbouring subunit. This unanticipated interaction is certain to be found in other anaerobic bacteria and archaea, the researchers note.
- Journal of Biological Chemistry 296, 100124 (2021). doi: doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA120.016017