Sep 25, 1976

Re-evaluation of the H+/site ratio of mitochondrial electron transport with the oxygen pulse technique

The Journal of Biological Chemistry
M D BrandA L Lehninger


The number of protons ejected per pair of electrons passing each energy-conserving site in the electron transport chain (the H+/site ratio) has been investigated in rat liver mitochondria by means of the oxygen pulse technique introduced by Mitchell and Moyle (1967) (Biochem. J. 105, 1147-1162). The usual H+/site values of 2.0 observed by this method were found to be substantially underestimated as a result of the influx of phosphate into the mitochondria. This was shown by three different kinds of experiments. 1. Addition of N-ethylmaleimide or mersalyl, inhibitors of mitochondrial phosphate transport, increased the H+/site ratio from 2.0 to 3.0. The dependence of this effect on the concentration of either inhibitor was identical with that for inhibition of phosphate transport. Added phosphate diminished the H+/site ratio to values below 2.0 in the absence of N-ethylmaleimide. N-Ethylmaleimide protected the elevated H+/site ratio of 3.0 against the deleterious effect of added phosphate, but did not prevent a lowering effect of weak acid anions such as 3-hydroxybutyrate. 2. Prior washing of mitochondria to remove the endogenous phosphate that leaks out during the anaerobic preincubation led to H+/site ratios near 3.0, which wer...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Hydroxybutyric Acids
Electron Transport
Phosphate Ion Transport

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