Electron Transport Chain (Lyrics)

Welcome to this story about cell energy
The goal is explaining how cells make ATP
It happens in the mitochondria which you can think of
As the cell’s energy factory

Mitochondria are double-membraned organelles,
An inner membrane and an outer one as well
The mitochondrial matrix is the fluid inside
It’s where reactions like Krebs cycle reside

Glycolysis and Krebs make NADH
and FADH2 from energy in food
These electron carriers make their way
From the matrix to the inner membrane.

And that’s where you find the electron transport chain
It’s a series of enzymes embedded in the membrane,
Which take the electron carrier’s electrons
And uses their energy for pumping protons


The mitochondrial electron transport chain
Uses electron energy for pumping protons
From the mitochondrial matrix to the intermembrane space
Increasing proton concentration in that place,
The only way the protons can escape
Is through a channel and an enzyme, ATP synthase.
Which uses diffusing protons’ kinetic energy
To make ATP, from ADP and P

The chain is a series of enzymes in a row
Each accepts electrons, then lets them go
To the next carrier in this transport chain.
It’s kind of organized like a bucket brigade

What drives electrons down this enzymatic series
Is the growing level of each carrier’s electronegativity
And to oxygen electrons ultimately fall
It’s the most electronegative of them all

It’s NADH that starts this run
Donating electrons to Complex number I
This powers active transport as protons are displaced.
And get pumped from the matrix to the intermembrane space

From Complex I electrons flow to
Ubiquinone, also known as “Q”
Which floats through the inner membrane happily
And brings its electrons to Complex III

And you can guess the function of Complex III .
It’s another proton pump using electron energy
Protons jam up in that intermembrane compartment
Like a hundred people in a one bedroom apartment!


Complex II is for FADH2
Which donates electrons, which then get passed to Q
Which once again passes them to Complex III
Which pumps protons using electron energy

From Complex III the electrons proceed
To another mobile carrier, Cytochrome C
Which donates the electrons to Complex IV
Another proton pump, could you ask for more?

After Complex IV electrons flow,
To oxygen which is ever so
Electronegative it pulls electrons down the chain,
Keeping them moving like the cars of a train.

And as O2 does this electron grabbing trick,
It also grabs protons from the matrix.
They all combine to form H2O
Electron transport chain, watch it go!


Now all these protons in the intermembrane space
Are trapped they can’t get out of that place
‘Cause protons are charged and could never get through
A phospholipid bilayer, they can’t diffuse

But like all particles, they’re dying to go
From where their concentration’s high to where it’s low
Stuck in the intermembrane space they’re frustrated.
To diffuse to the matrix, they’re highly motivated.

And this gradient’s been made steeper by O2
Which absorbs protons from the matrix stew,
So from proton pumping, and oxygen’s actions.
Add another force, electrochemical attraction!

Think of all those trapped protons, each one’s positive.
The matrix, in comparison is negative.
Opposites attract, so the protons are dying
To get to matrix, oh how they’re trying!

There’s only one channel that let’s the protons pass,
And they use it like high school students busting out of class,
It’s a channel and an enzyme, it’s ATP synthase
The closer in this game, an energy ace

ATP synthase is embedded in the inner membrane
How it works is so cool it’s insane.
It’s got channels for diffusing protons running right through it.
When cells make ATP, well watch how they do it

The matrix side of ATP synthase has binding sites
For ADP and P which come in and bind.
And as ATP synthase lets protons barge through
Their kinetic energy gets put to use.

Like water through a turbine proton movement generates rotation.
Changing synthase’s binding site conformation.
Which catalyzes chemical bond formation.
ADP and P make ATP that energy sensation!



This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Pingback: Anonymous

  2. Neeya

    Mr. W.

    You are AMAZING!! Thanks for your creative input, music, lyrics, visual aids, the flash cards…everything! I am a NY Teaching Fellow about to take teaching certification exams in biology and then I will be teaching biology to middle school students. Your site is the most helpful, and FUN!, resource I have found while reviewing for my exams. I will definitely be sharing your site and info with my classes and fellow teachers! Thanks for being such a rock star!

    1. Mr. W

      Wow, Neeya. What a great comment! I’m gonna look at this whenever I need inspiration. Please let your fellow fellows know about my website and channel!
      Mr. W

  3. sp bhat

    Only one word-“GREAT”

  4. Dr. Ashwini Wane

    i think i understood this very well after seeing your musical video…an awesome composition…just wished u made a musical of entire human physiology so it would be easier to remember this vast syllabus…great work…really appreciate it and a delight for a visual learner who loves music and makes learning fun…thank you Sir..great work..keep going..

    1. Mr. W

      Thanks so much, Dr. Wane. Please consider donating to my site, or buying a bunch of my mp3s, to support my work!
      Good luck in all you do!
      Mr. W

  5. ana

    your songs are amazing!!! How complicated the process is and how easy you make it for us…incredible!
    Thank you so much for the help and support in our studes !!!

  6. ana

    Your songs are amazing!!! How complicated the process is and how easy you make it for us…incredible!
    Thank you so much for the help and support in our studies !!! Thank you so much!

    1. Mr. W

      Thanks, ana! I really appreciate your comments.
      Please, if you can, take a few moments and share links to my work on social media. Also, if you can, email the links to your friends and teachers!
      It’s http://www.sciencemusicvideos.com.
      Thanks for the support!
      Mr. W

  7. mama

    you re so superb mr W…. almost all of your videos i used in my lecture session … love to see more from you soon… thanks for all what hv u did….

    1. Mr. W

      Thanks! Have you also tried my interactive tutorials about cellular respiration! Let me know what you think about them!

      Mr. W

  8. Caitlin

    Your videos are incredible!! So creative, so cool, and you make this info so easy to understand!! Without your videos I never would have made it through cellular respiration! So thank you!

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