Variable proton conductance of submitochondrial particles

M C Sorgato, S J Ferguson


The relationship between the rate of substrate oxidation and the protonmotive force (electrochemical proton gradient) generated by bovine heart submitochondrial particles has been examined. Unexpectedly, oxidation of succinate generated a higher protonmotive force than the oxidation of NADH, although the rate of proton translocation across the membrane was inferred to be considerably lower with succinate as substrate. The data suggest that the flow of electrons through site 1 of the respiratory chain may increase the conductance of the mitochondrial membrane for protons. Upon reduction of the rate of succinate oxidation by titration with malonate, the protonmotive force remained essentially constant until the extent of inhibition was greater than 75%. The general conclusion from this work is that a constant passive membrane conductance for protons cannot be assumed.


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Bos taurus
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