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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1990 Jul 25;1018(2-3):128-33.

The proton leak across the mitochondrial inner membrane.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, U.K.


The proton conductance of the mitochondrial inner membrane increases at high protonmotive force in isolated mitochondria and in mitochondria in situ in rat hepatocytes. Quantitative analysis of its importance shows that about 20-30% of the oxygen consumption by resting hepatocytes is used to drive a heat-producing cycle of proton pumping by the respiratory chain and proton leak back to the matrix. The flux control coefficient of the proton leak pathway over respiration rate varies between 0.9 and zero in mitochondria depending on the rate of respiration, and has a value of about 0.2 in hepatocytes. Changes in the proton leak pathway in situ will therefore change respiration rate. Mitochondria isolated from hypothyroid animals have decreased proton leak pathway, causing slower state 4 respiration rates. Hepatocytes from hypothyroid rats also have decreased proton leak pathway, and this accounts for about 30% of the decrease in hepatocyte respiration rate. Mitochondrial proton leak may be a significant contributor to standard metabolic rate in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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