Oxidative phosphorylation occurs along the inner mitochondrial membrane, which encloses the mitochondrial matrix and borders the intermembrane space.
The electron transport chain accepts electrons from carriers NADH and FADH2 and transfers them down a series of protein complexes.
Oxygen is the final acceptor of electrons in the electron transport chain and is reduced to water.
The protein complexes in the electron transport chain use the transfer of electrons to pump protons into the inter-membrane space and establish the proton motive force.
The proton motive force derived from the electrochemical gradient established by pumping protons into the inter-membrane space. Thus, protons build up in the inter-membrane space and want to diffuse back into the matrix.
ATP synthase converts ADP to ATP by using the energy from the proton motive force. The energy for it is released in the form of a proton moving down the electrochemical gradient.
For each NADH entering oxidative phosphorylation, approximately three ATP are produced.
For each FADH2 entering oxidative phosphorylation, approximately two ATP are produced.
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