The proper arrangement of protein components within the respiratory electron transport chain is nowadays a matter of intense debate, since altering it leads to cell aging and other related pathologies. Here, we discuss three current views-the so-called solid, fluid and plasticity models-which describe the organization of the main membrane-embedded mitochondrial protein complexes and the key elements that regulate and/or facilitate supercomplex assembly. The soluble electron carrier cytochrome c has recently emerged as an essential factor in the assembly and function of respiratory supercomplexes. In fact, a 'restricted diffusion pathway' mechanism for electron transfer between complexes III and IV has been proposed based on the secondary, distal binding sites for cytochrome c at its two membrane partners recently discovered. This channeling pathway facilitates the surfing of cytochrome c on both respiratory complexes, thereby tuning the efficiency of oxidative phosphorylation and diminishing the production of reactive oxygen species. The well-documented post-translational modifications of cytochrome c could further contribute to the rapid adjustment of electron flow in response to changing cellular conditions.Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (BFU2015-71017/BMC MINECO/FEDER and PGC2018-096049-B-I00 BIO/BMC MICINN/FEDER, EU
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.