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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Jul;83(13):4734-8.

How enzymes can capture and transmit free energy from an oscillating electric field.


Recently, it has been demonstrated that free energy from an alternating electric field can drive the active transport of Rb+ by way of the Na+, K+-ATPase. In the present work, it is shown why many transmembrane enzymes can be expected to absorb free energy from an oscillating electric field and transduce that to chemical or transport work. In the theoretical analysis it turned out to be sufficient that (i) the catalytic process be accompanied by either net or cyclic charge translocation across the membrane and (ii) the stability of the enzyme states involved be asymmetric. Calculations based on a four-state model reveal that free-energy transduction occurs with sinusoidal, square-wave, and positive-only oscillating electric fields and for cases that exhibit either linear or exponential field-dependent rate constants. The results suggest that in addition to oscillating electric field-driven transport, the proposed mechanism can also be used to explain, in part, the "missing" free energy term in the cases in which ATP synthesis has been observed with insufficient transmembrane proton electrochemical potential difference.

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