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Biochemistry. 1977 Mar 8;16(5):854-9.

The relationship between the electrochemical proton gradient and active transport in Escherichia coli membrane vesicles.


In the previous paper [ramos, S., and Kaback, H.R. (1977), Biochemistry 16 (preceding paper in this issue)], it was demonstrated that Escherichia coli membrane vesicles generate a large electrochemical proton gradient (delta-muH+) under appropriate conditions, and some of the properties of delta-muH+ and its component forces [i.e., the membrane potential (delta psi) and the chemical gradient of protons (deltapH)] were described. In this paper, the relationship between delta-muH+, delta psi, and deltapH and the active transport of specific solutes is examined. Addition of lactose or glucose 6-phosphate to membrane vesicles containing the appropriate transport systems results in partial collapse of deltapH, providing direct evidence for the suggestion that respiratory energy can drive active transport via the pH gradient across the membrane. Titration studies with valinomycin and nigericin lead to the conclusion that, at pH 5.5, there are two general classes of transport systems: those that are driven primarily by delta-muH+ (lactose, proline, serine, glycine, tyrosine, glutamate, leucine, lysine, cysteine, and succinate) and those that are driven primarily by deltapH (glucose 6-phosphate, D-lactate, glucuronate, and gluconate). Importantly, however, it is also demonstrated that at pH 7.5, all of these transport systems are driven by delta psi which comprises the only component of delta-muH+ at this external pH. In addition, the effect of external pH on the steady-state levels of accumulation of different solutes is examined, and it is shown that none of the pH profiles correspond to those observed for delta-muH+, delta psi, or deltapH. Moreover, at external pH values above 6.0-6.5, delta-muH+ is insufficient to account for the concentration gradients established for each substrate unless the stoichiometry between protons and accumulated solutes is greater than unity. The results confirm many facets of the chemiosmotic hypothesis, but they also extend the concept in certain important respects and allow explanations for some earlier observations which seemed to preclude the involvement of chemiosmotic phenomena in active transport.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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