The plethora of membrane respiratory chains in the phyla of life

Patrícia N. Refojo, Filipa V. Sena, Filipa Calisto, Filipe M. Sousa, Manuela M. Pereira

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The diversity of microbial cells is reflected in differences in cell size and shape, motility, mechanisms of cell division, pathogenicity or adaptation to different environmental niches. All these variations are achieved by the distinct metabolic strategies adopted by the organisms. The respiratory chains are integral parts of those strategies especially because they perform the most or, at least, most efficient energy conservation in the cell. Respiratory chains are composed of several membrane proteins, which perform a stepwise oxidation of metabolites toward the reduction of terminal electron acceptors. Many of these membrane proteins use the energy released from the oxidoreduction reaction they catalyze to translocate charges across the membrane and thus contribute to the establishment of the membrane potential, i.e. they conserve energy. In this work we illustrate and discuss the composition of the respiratory chains of different taxonomic clades, based on bioinformatic analyses and on biochemical data available in the literature. We explore the diversity of the respiratory chains of Animals, Plants, Fungi and Protists kingdoms as well as of Prokaryotes, including Bacteria and Archaea. The prokaryotic phyla studied in this work are Gammaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, Epsilonproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Chlamydiae, Verrucomicrobia, Acidobacteria, Planctomycetes, Cyanobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Deinococcus-Thermus, Aquificae, Thermotogae, Deferribacteres, Nitrospirae, Euryarchaeota, Crenarchaeota and Thaumarchaeota.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Microbial Physiology
EditorsRobert K. Poole
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages84
ISBN (Print)9780128177129
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in Microbial Physiology
ISSN (Print)0065-2911


  • Aerobic respiration
  • Anaerobic respiration
  • Cytochrome
  • Electron transport chain
  • Membrane protein
  • Metabolism
  • Oxidoreductase
  • Quinol oxidase
  • Quinone reductase


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