Supramolecular organization of bacterial aerobic respiratory chains: From cells and back

Ana M P Melo, Miguel Teixeira

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Aerobic respiratory chains from all life kingdoms are composed by several complexes that have been deeply characterized in their isolated form. These membranous complexes link the oxidation of reducing substrates to the reduction of molecular oxygen, in a process that conserves energy by ion translocation between both sides of the mitochondrial or prokaryotic cytoplasmatic membranes. In recent years there has been increasing evidence that those complexes are organized as supramolecular structures, the so-called supercomplexes and respirasomes, being available for eukaryotes strong data namely obtained by electron microscopy and single particle analysis. A parallel study has been developed for prokaryotes, based on blue native gels and mass spectrometry analysis, showing that in these more simple unicellular organisms such supercomplexes also exist, involving not only typical aerobic-respiration associated complexes, but also anaerobic-linked enzymes. After a short overview of the data on eukaryotic supercomplexes, we will analyse comprehensively the different types of prokaryotic aerobic respiratory supercomplexes that have been thus far suggested, in both bacteria and archaea. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Organization and dynamics of bioenergetic systems in bacteria, edited by Prof Conrad Mullineaux.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-197
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica Et Biophysica Acta-Bioenergetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Bacteria
  • Escherichia coli
  • Microbiology
  • Respiratory chain
  • Supercomplex

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