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

Uniport of anionic citrate and proton consumption in citrate metabolism generates a proton motive force in Leuconostoc oenos.

The mechanism and energetics of citrate transport in Leuconostoc oenos were investigated. Resting cells of L. oenos generate both a membrane potential (delta psi) and a pH gradient (delta pH) upon addition of citrate. After a lag time, the internal alkalinization is followed by a continuous alkalinization of the external medium, demonstrating the involvement of proton-consuming reactions in the metabolic breakdown of citrate. Membrane vesicles of L. oenos were prepared and fused to liposomes containing cytochrome c oxidase to study the mechanism of citrate transport. Citrate uptake in the hybrid membranes is inhibited by a membrane potential of physiological polarity, inside negative, and driven by an inverted membrane potential, inside positive. A pH gradient, inside alkaline, leads to the accumulation of citrate inside the membrane vesicles. Kinetic analysis of delta pH-driven citrate uptake over a range of external pHs suggests that the monovalent anionic species (H2cit-) is the transported particle. Together, the data show that the transport of citrate is an electrogenic process in which H2cit- is translocated across the membrane via a uniport mechanism. Homologous exchange (citrate/citrate) was observed, but no evidence for a heterologous antiport mechanism involving products of citrate metabolism (e.g., acetate and pyruvate) was found. It is concluded that the generation of metabolic energy by citrate utilization in L. oenos is a direct consequence of the uptake of the negatively charged citrate anion, yielding a membrane potential, and from H(+)-consuming reactions involved in subsequent citrate metabolism, yielding a pH gradient. The uptake of citrate is driven by its own concentration gradient, which is maintained by efficient metabolic breakdown (metabolic pull).[1]


  1. Uniport of anionic citrate and proton consumption in citrate metabolism generates a proton motive force in Leuconostoc oenos. Ramos, A., Poolman, B., Santos, H., Lolkema, J.S., Konings, W.N. J. Bacteriol. (1994) [Pubmed]
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