36 Degrees Step Size of Proton-driven C-ring Rotation in FoF1-ATP Synthase
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Synthesis of adenosine triphosphate ATP, the 'biological energy currency', is accomplished by F(o)F(1)-ATP synthase. In the plasma membrane of Escherichia coli, proton-driven rotation of a ring of 10 c subunits in the F(o) motor powers catalysis in the F(1) motor. Although F(1) uses 120 degrees stepping during ATP synthesis, models of F(o) predict either an incremental rotation of c subunits in 36 degrees steps or larger step sizes comprising several fast substeps. Using single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer, we provide the first experimental determination of a 36 degrees sequential stepping mode of the c-ring during ATP synthesis.