What is Oxidative Phosphorylation?

Oxidative phosphorylation is the final step in cellular respiration. It occurs in the mitochondria. It is linked to a process known as the electron transport chain. The electron transport system is located in the inner mitochondrial membrane. The electrons are transferred from one member of the transport chain to another through a series of redox reactions.

Steps of oxidative phosphorylation

The major steps of oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria

Delivery of Electrons by NADH and FADH2

Reduced NADH and FADH2 transfer their electrons to molecules near the beginning of the transport chain. After transferring the electrons, they get oxidised to NAD+ and FAD and are utilised in other steps of cellular respiration.

Electron Transport and Proton Pumping

The electrons move from a higher energy level to a lower energy level, thereby releasing energy. Some energy is used to move the electrons from the matrix to the intermembrane space. Thus, an electrochemical gradient is established.

Splitting of Oxygen to form Water

The electrons are then transferred to the oxygen molecule, which splits in half and uptakes H+ to form water.

ATP Synthesis

The H+ ions pass through an enzyme called ATP synthase while flowing back into the matrix. This controls the flow of protons to synthesize ATP.

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