The citric acid cycle – also known as the TCA cycle or the Krebs cycle – is a series of chemical reactions used by all aerobic organisms to release stored energy through the oxidation of acetyl-CoA derived from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, into adenosine triphosphate and carbon dioxide.
The electron transport chain is a series of electron transporters embedded in the inner mitochondrial membrane that shuttles electrons from NADH and FADH2 to molecular oxygen. In the process, protons are pumped from the mitochondrial matrix to the intermembrane space, and oxygen is reduced to form water.
The proton gradient produced by proton pumping during the electron transport chain is used to synthesize ATP. Protons flow down their concentration gradient into the matrix through the membrane protein ATP synthase, causing it to spin (like a water wheel) and catalyze conversion of ADP to ATP.