Peter Brzezinski

Peter Brzezinski

Professor in Biochemistry

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Telephone 08-16 32 80
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 16
Room A 453
Postal address Institutionen för biokemi och biofysik 106 91 Stockholm


Molecular movies and energy landscapes of the respiratory chain

The functionality of a cell or organelle at the molecular level is underpinned by dynamic interactions between biomolecules. These interactions may involve structural changes of the components, binding of regulatory proteins or small molecules. One system that is highly regulated by such interactions is the respiratory chain of mitochondria and aerobic bacteria. This system is composed of a number of membrane-bound enzymes that sequentially transfer electrons from low-potential donors to high-potential acceptors. The electron transfer is linked to transmembrane proton translocation, which maintains an electrochemical gradient that stores free energy.

We use time-resolved spectroscopic techniques to study the function of each component, assemblies of components as well as intact mitochondrial membranes. These mechanistic studies are combined with the use of cryogenic electron microscopy to determine structures of the respiratory enzyme components and supercomplexes. The aim is to understand function, as well as dynamics of interactions between the respiratory enzymes, at a molecular level in terms of physical mechanisms. A long-term goal is to visualize these dynamic processes in 3D to reconstruct “molecular movies” showing functional dynamics of complex molecular machines “in action” as well as the interaction choreography of these systems.


Group members

Markus Björck, Researcher

Linda Näsvik Öjemyr, Researcher

Irina Smirnova, Researcher

Wataru Sato, Postdoc

Sylwia Krol, PhD Student

Agnes Moe, PhD Student


Recent Publications


  • Wiseman, B. et al. Structure of a functional obligate complex III2IV2 respiratory supercomplex from Mycobacterium smegmatis. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 25, 1128-1136 (2018).
  • Björck, M. L. & Brzezinski, P. Control of transmembrane charge transfer in cytochrome c oxidase by the membrane potential. Nature Communications 9, (2018).
  • Rathore, S. et al. Cryo-EM structure of the yeast respiratory supercomplex. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 26, 50-57, (2019).
  • Rydström Lundin, C., Von Ballmoos, C., Ott, M., Ädelroth, P. & Brzezinski, P. Regulatory role of the respiratory supercomplex factors in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 113, E4476,(2016)
  • Poiana, F. et al. Splitting of the O–O bond at the heme-copper catalytic site of respiratory oxidases. Science Advances 3 (2017).


Funding Sources

Our research is finaced by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Research Council and the Wenner-Gren Foundations

Last updated: October 1, 2020

Bookmark and share Tell a friend