During chemiosmosis, electron carriers like NADH and FADH donate electrons to the electron transport chain. The electrons cause conformation changes in the shapes of the proteins to pump H+ across a selectively permeable cell membrane. The uneven distribution of H+ ions across the membrane establishes both concentration and electrical gradients (thus, an electrochemical gradient) owing to the hydrogen ions’ positive charge and their aggregation on one side of the membrane.
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At the end of the pathway, the electrons are used to reduce an oxygen molecule to oxygen ions. The extra electrons on the oxygen attract hydrogen ions (protons) from the surrounding medium and water is formed.