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

The phosphorus/oxygen ratio of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation.

The transport of ATP out of mitochondria and uptake of ADP and Pi into the matrix are coupled to the uptake of one proton (Klingenberg, M., and Rottenberg, H. (1977) Eur. J. Biochem. 73, 125--130). According to the chemiosmotic hypothesis of oxidative phosphorylation this coupling of nucleotide and Pi transport to proton transport implies that the P/O ratio for the synthesis and transport of ATP to the external medium is less than the P/O ratio for the synthesis of ATP inside mitochondria. A survey of previous determinations of the P/O ratio of intact mitochondria showed little convincing evidence in support of the currently accepted values of 3 with NADH-linked substrates and 2 with succinate. We have measured P/O ratios in rat liver mitochondria by the ADP pulse method and by 32 Pi esterification, measuring oxygen uptake with an oxygen electrode, and find values close to 2 with beta-hydroxybutyrate as substrate and 1.3 with succinate as substrate in the presence of rotenone to inhibit NADH oxidation. These values were largely independent of pH, temperature, Mg2+ ion concentration, Pi concentration, ADP pulse size, or amount of mitochondria used. We suggest that these are the true values of the P/O ratio for ATP synthesis and transport by mitochondria, and that previously reported higher values resulted from errors in the determination of oxygen uptake and the use of substrates which lead to ATP synthesis by succinate thiokinase.[1]


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