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Energy-spilling reactions of Streptococcus bovis and resistance of its membrane to proton conductance.

  • G M Cook
  • J B Russell
Publication Date
Jun 01, 1994


Glucose-excess cultures of Streptococcus bovis consumed glucose faster than the amount that could be explained by growth or maintenance, and nongrowing chloramphenicol-treated cells had a rate of glucose consumption that was 10-fold greater than the maintenance rate. Because N,N-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide, an inhibitor of the membrane-bound F1F0 ATPase, eliminated the nongrowth energy dissipation (energy spilling) without a decrease in ATP and the rate of energy spilling could be increased by the protonophore 3,3',4',5-tetrachlorosalicylanilide, it appeared that a futile cycle of protons through the cell membrane was responsible for most of the energy spilling. When the rate of energy spilling was decreased gradually with iodoacetate, there was only a small decrease in the phosphorylation potential (delta G'p) and the theoretical estimate of H+ per ATP decreased from 4.2 to 3.6. On the bases of this ratio of H+ to ATP and the rate of ATP production, the flux of protons (amperage) across the cell membrane was directly proportional to the rate of energy spilling. Amperage values estimated from delta G'p were, however, nearly twice as great as values which were estimated from the heat production (delta H) of the cells [amperage = (0.38 x wattage)/delta p]. The last comparison indicated that only a fraction of the delta G of ATP hydrolysis was harvested by the F1F0 ATPase to pump protons. Both estimates of amperage indicated that the resistance of the cell membrane to proton conductance was inversely proportional to the log of the energy-spilling rate.

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