Browsing by Subject "biokemia ja biofysiikka"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-1 of 1
  • Kaila, Ville (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The complexity of life is based on an effective energy transduction machinery, which has evolved during the last 3.5 billion years. In aerobic life, the utilization of the high oxidizing potential of molecular oxygen powers this machinery. Oxygen is safely reduced by a membrane bound enzyme, cytochrome c oxidase (CcO), to produce an electrochemical proton gradient over the mitochondrial or bacterial membrane. This gradient is used for energy-requiring reactions such as synthesis of ATP by F0F1-ATPase and active transport. In this thesis, the molecular mechanism by which CcO couples the oxygen reduction chemistry to proton-pumping has been studied by theoretical computer simulations. By building both classical and quantum mechanical model systems based on the X-ray structure of CcO from Bos taurus, the dynamics and energetics of the system were studied in different intermediate states of the enzyme. As a result of this work, a mechanism was suggested by which CcO can prevent protons from leaking backwards in proton-pumping. The use and activation of two proton conducting channels were also enlightened together with a mechanism by which CcO sorts the chemical protons from pumped protons. The latter problem is referred to as the gating mechanism of CcO, and has remained a challenge in the bioenergetics field for more than three decades. Furthermore, a new method for deriving charge parameters for classical simulations of complex metalloenzymes was developed.