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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Crystal violet as an uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation in rat liver mitochondria.

Crystal violet exhibited characteristics of an uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation, i.e. it released respiratory control, hindered ATP synthesis, enhanced ATPase activity, and produced swelling of isolated rat liver mitochondria. Maximal stimulation of respiration, ATPase activity, and swelling was observed at a concentration of 40 microM. The inhibition of State 3 respiration by oligomycin was released by crystal violet. High concentrations of crystal violet inhibited mitochondrial respiration. The uncoupling effect of crystal violet required inorganic phosphate and was abolished by N-ethylmaleimide. The adenine nucleotides ADP and ATP protected mitochondria from uncoupling by the dye. The dye taken up by mitochondria was released into the incubation medium on induction of uncoupling. In the absence of phosphate, the dye did not cause uncoupling, but its retention was much greater than in the presence of phosphate. Crystal violet is suggested to induce uncoupling by acting on the membrane, rather than by its electrophoretic transfer into the mitochondria.[1]


  1. Crystal violet as an uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation in rat liver mitochondria. Moreno, S.N., Gadelha, F.R., Docampo, R. J. Biol. Chem. (1988) [Pubmed]
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