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

Electrochemical proton gradient across the cell membrane of Halobacterium halobium: comparison of the light-induced increase with the increase of intracellular adenosine triphosphate under steady-state illumination.

The increase of the proton motive force mediated by bacteriorhodopsin is compared to the intracellular ATP concentration under steady-state illumination. The membrane potential was measured via the accumulation of the lipophilic ion [14C]triphenylmethylphosphonium and the pH gradient via the accumulation of the weak acid 5,5-dimethyloxazolidine-2,4-dione. Light causes a parallel increase of ATP level and membrane potential at an external pH of 8. In contrast, at pH 6 an increase of the intracellular ATP concentration occurs without a corresponding increase of the proton motive force. If the extracellular NaCl concentration is reduced and not replaced by other ions, no membrane potential at all can be measured at pH 6-7; nonetheless, light-induced ATP synthesis occurs. A significant enhancement of the pH gradient occurs only at irradiances higher than those required for the attainment of the maximal intracellular ATP concentration. In the presence of the uncoupler carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone it is possible to obtain light-induced ATP synthesis without a measurable proton motive force in basal salt at pH 8. It is concluded that if bacteriorhodopsin acts as a proton pump, then the pumped protons can be used for ATP synthesis before they equilibrate with the protons in the extracellular bulk phase.[1]


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