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J Membr Biol. 1979 Aug;49(2):105-21.

Membrane potential of mitochondria measured with an electrode sensitive to tetraphenyl phosphonium and relationship between proton electrochemical potential and phosphorylation potential in steady state.


The membrane potential of mitochondria was estimated from the accumulation of tetraphenyl phosphonium (TPP+), which was determined with the TPP+-selective electrode developed in the present study. The preparation and some operational parameters of the electrode were described. The kinetics for uptake by mitochondria of TPP+ and DDA+ (dibenzyldimethyl ammonium) were analyzed, and it was found that TPP+ permeated the mitochondrial membrane about 15 times faster than DDA+. The final amounts of accumulation of TPP+ and DDA+ by mitochondria were approximately equal. For the state-4 mitochondria, the membrane potential was about 180 mV (interior negative). Simultaneous measurements of TPP+-uptake and oxygen consumption showed that the transition between states 3 and 4 was detectable by use of the TPP+-electrode. After the TPP+-electrode showed that state-4 was reached, the extra-mitochondrial phosphorylation potential was measured. The difference in pH across the membrane was measured from the distribution of permeant anion, acetate, so as to calculate the proton electrochemical potential. The ratio of extra-mitochondrial phosphorylation potential to proton electro-chemical potential, n was close to 3. This value of n was also found to be 3 when ATP was hydrolyzed under the condition that the respiratory chain was arrested. The implication that n = 3 was discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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