The Biology Project: Biochemistry

Metabolism Problem Set

Problem 14 Tutorial: Terminal Electron Acceptor

The terminal electron acceptor during mitochondrial respiration:

Electron transport in the inner mitochondrial membrane

The electron transport in the inner membrane of the mitochondria is a series of protein complexes that receive electrons from NADH and FADH2. Transferring electrons through the protein complexes results in the pumping of protons into the inner membrane space, and the final acceptor is oxygen, generating water.

The significance of O2 as the terminal electron acceptor

Our main reason for breathing is to provide oxygen as the terminal electron acceptor. The water produced represents about 1/3 of our needed water for each day. The rest must be provided by eating and drinking. Any reduction in oxygen to our bodies severely restricts our ability to produce ATP. Our brains, lacking the pathway for fermentation, are particularly sensitive to oxygen depletion.

The Biology Project
University of Arizona
Tuesday, August 20, 1996
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