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Energy coupling in the active transport of amino acids by bacteriohodopsin-containing cells of Halobacterium holobium.

  • J S Hubbard
  • C A Rinehart
  • R A Baker
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1976


Growth of Halobacterium halobium under illumination with limiting aeration induces bacteriorhodopsin formation and renders the cells capable of photophosphorylation. Cells depleted of endogenous reserves by a starvation treatment were used to investigate the means by which energy is coupled to the active transport of [14C]proline, -leucine, and -histidine. Proline was readily accumulated by irradiated cells under anaerobiosis even when the photophosphorylation was abolished by the adenosine triphosphatase inhibitor N,N'-dicyclohexylcarbodimiide (DCCD). The uptake of proline in the dark was limited except when the cells were allowed to accumulate adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) by prior light exposure or by the oxidation of glycerol. DCCD inhibited this dark uptake. These findings essentially support Mitchell's chemiosmotic theory of active transport. The driving force is apparently the proton-motive force developed when protons are extruded from irradiated bacteriorhodopsin or by the dydrolysis of ATP by membrane adenosine triphosphatase. Carbonylcyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP), a proton permeant known to abolish membrane potential, was a strong inhibitor of proline uptake. Leucine transport was also apparently driven by proton-motive force, although its kinetic properties differed from the proline system. Histidine transport is apparently not a chemiosmotic system. Dark- or light-exposed cells show comparable initial rats of histidine uptake, and these processes were only partially inhibited by DCCD or CCCP. The histidine system apparently does not utilize ATP per se since comparable rates of uptake were exhibited by cells of differing intracellular ATP levels. Irradiated cells did effect a greater total accumulation of histidine than dark-exposed cells. These findings suggest that ATP is needed for sustained transport.

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