Uncouplers can shuttle between localized energy-coupling sites during photophosphorylation by chromatophores of Rhodopseudomonas capsulata N22

Biochem J. 1983 Apr 15;212(1):25-30. doi: 10.1042/bj2120025.


Two models of the action of uncoupler molecules in inhibiting photophosphorylation in bacterial chromatophores are considered: either uncoupler molecules shuttle rapidly between energy-coupling sites, or uncoupler molecules that are bound to particular sites in the chromatophores for a time that is comparable with the turnover time of the photophosphorylation apparatus may uncouple by a co-operative "substoichiometric' mechanism. It is found that the titre of uncoupler necessary to cause complete uncoupling is lowered if the rate of photophosphorylation is initially decreased by partially restricting electron flow with an appropriate titre of antimycin A. This result indicates that uncoupler molecules shuttle rapidly between energy coupling in which the energized intermediate between electron transport and phosphorylation is delocalized over the entire chromatophore membrane and those in which it is not. If the rate of photophosphorylation is partially restricted with the covalent H+-translocating ATP synthase inhibitor dicyclohexylcarbodi-imide, the titre of uncoupler necessary to effect complete inhibition of photophosphorylation is also decreased relative to that in which the covalent H+-ATP synthase inhibitor is absent. This important result appears to be inconsistent with models of electron-transport phosphorylation in which the "energized state' of the chromatophore membrane that is set up by electron transport and utilized in photophosphorylation is delocalized over the entire chromatophore membrane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimycin A / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Chromatophores / drug effects*
  • Bacterial Chromatophores / metabolism*
  • Binding Sites
  • Carbonyl Cyanide p-Trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone / pharmacology
  • Dicyclohexylcarbodiimide / pharmacology
  • Models, Biological
  • Nitriles / pharmacology
  • Photophosphorylation / drug effects
  • Rhodopseudomonas / drug effects
  • Rhodopseudomonas / metabolism*
  • Uncoupling Agents / pharmacology*


  • Nitriles
  • Uncoupling Agents
  • Carbonyl Cyanide p-Trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone
  • SF 6847
  • Dicyclohexylcarbodiimide
  • Antimycin A