Type II NADH:quinone oxidoreductases (NDH-2s) are membrane proteins involved in respiratory chains. These proteins contribute indirectly to the establishment of the transmembrane difference of electrochemical potential by catalyzing the reduction of quinone by oxidation of NAD(P)H. NDH-2s are widespread enzymes being present in the three domains of life. In this work, we explored the catalytic mechanism of NDH-2 by investigating the common elements of all NDH-2s, based on the rationale that conservation of such elements reflects their structural/functional importance. We observed conserved sequence motifs and structural elements among 1762 NDH-2s. We identified two proton pathways possibly involved in the protonation of the quinone. Our results led us to propose the first catalytic mechanism for NDH-2 family, in which a conserved glutamate residue, E 172 (in NDH-2 from Staphylococcus aureus) plays a key role in proton transfer to the quinone pocket. This catalytic mechanism may also be extended to the other members of the two-Dinucleotide Binding Domains Flavoprotein (tDBDF) superfamily, such as sulfide:quinone oxidoreductases.