Bringing to Light the Mechanism of Energy Conservation by Flavin-based Electron Bifurcation

Bringing to Light the Mechanism of Energy Conservation by Flavin-based Electron Bifurcation

October 17, 2018

Address

727 E. Tyler St.
Tempe, AZ 85287

Location

Biodesign Institute, Auditorium

Date and Time

October 25, 2018, 4:00 pm (Length: 1 hour 0 minutes)

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Cara Lubner, PhD, Staff Scientist, Biophysical Chemist, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden CO

An organism's ability to extract energy from its surroundings – and to do it better than its competitors – is a key requirement of survival. Until recently, it was thought that in all of biology, from microbes to humans, there were only two methods to generate and conserve the energy required for cellular metabolism and survival. In the last few years, flavin-based electron bifurcation has gained acceptance as a third, fundamental mechanism of biological energy conservation. A key feature common to all bifurcating enzymes is the ability to use the free energy generated by an exergonic oxidation-reduction reaction to drive a coupled endergonic reaction, although how this is achieved remains a topic of controversy. Recent findings from the Lubner lab have allowed the team to construct a mechanistic understanding of how electrons are bifurcated over more than one volt of electrochemical potential, a range typically associated with photosynthetic biology.