Cytochrome bd–type quinol oxidases catalyze the reduction of molecular oxygen to water in the respiratory chain of many human-pathogenic bacteria. They are structurally unrelated to mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidases and are therefore a prime target for the development of antimicrobial drugs. We determined the structure of the Escherichia coli cytochrome bd-I oxidase by single-particle cryo–electron microscopy to a resolution of 2.7 angstroms. Our structure contains a previously unknown accessory subunit CydH, the L-subfamily–specific Q-loop domain, a structural ubiquinone-8 cofactor, an active-site density interpreted as dioxygen, distinct water-filled proton channels, and an oxygen-conducting pathway. Comparison with another cytochrome bd oxidase reveals structural divergence in the family, including rearrangement of high-spin hemes and conformational adaption of a transmembrane helix to generate a distinct oxygen-binding site.
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