Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 1991, 56, 478-490

Kinetics and mechanism of the reaction between oxidized cytochrome c and ascorbic acid

Joaquin F. Perez-Benito* and Conchita Arias

Departamento de Quimica Fisica, Facultad de Quimica, Universidad de Barcelona, Marti i Franques 1, 08028-Barcelona, Spain


The reaction between horse-heart cytochrome c and ascorbic acid has been investigated in the pH range 5.5 – 7.1 and at 10.0 – 25.0 °C. The rate shows a first-order dependence on the concentration of cytochrome c, it increases in a non-linear way as the concentration of ascorbic acid increases, it increases markedly with increasing pH and, provided that the ionic strength of the medium is high enough, it fulfills the Arrhenius equation. The apparent activation energy increases as the pH of the solution increases. The results have been explained by means of a mechanism that includes the existence of an equilibrium between two forms (acidic and basic) of oxidized cytochrome c: cyt-H+ -Fe3+ + OH- cyt -Fe3+ + H2O, whose equilibrium constant is (6.7 ± 1.4). 108 at 25.0 °C, the acidic form being more reducible than the basic one. It is suggested that there is a linkage of hydrogenascorbate ion to both forms of cytochrome c previous to the redox reactions. Two possibilities for the oxidant-reductant linkage (binding and adsorption) are discussed in detail.