Electron Bifurcation

Paul King, John Peters, Anne-Frances Miller, Anne Jones, Michael Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus Citations


Electron bifurcation is the recently recognized third mechanism of biological energy conservation. It simultaneously couples exergonic and endergonic oxidation-reduction reactions to circumvent thermodynamic barriers and minimize free energy loss. Little is known about the details of how electron bifurcating enzymes function, but specifics are beginning to emerge for several bifurcating enzymes. To date, those characterized contain a collection of redox cofactors including flavins and iron-sulfur clusters. Here we discuss the current understanding of bifurcating enzymes and the mechanistic features required to reversibly partition multiple electrons from a single redox site into exergonic and endergonic electron transfer paths.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)146-152
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-66092


  • electron bifurcation
  • electron transfer reactions
  • endergonic
  • exergonic oxidation-reduction
  • redox reactions


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