Detailed molecular mechanisms of electron transfer-driven translocation of ions and of the generation of electric fields across biological membranes are beginning to emerge. The ideas inherent in the early formulations of the chemiosmotic hypothesis have provided the framework for this understanding and have also been seminal in promoting many of the experimental approaches which have been successfully used. This article is an attempt to review present understanding of the structures and mechanisms of several osmoenzymes of central importance and to identify and define the underlying features which might be of general relevance to the study of chemiosmotic devices.

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