Mitochondrial respiration was studied as a function of the total adenine nucleotide content of rat liver mitochondria. The adenine nucleotide content was varied by treating isolated mitochondria with pyrophosphate or by incubating pyrophosphate-treated mitochondria with ATP. Mitochondria with at least 4 nmol adenine nucleotides/mg protein maintained at least 80% of the State 3 activity of control mitochondria, which had approximately 10 nmol/mg protein. However, State 3 decreased rapidly once the adenine nucleotide content fell below 4 nmol/mg protein. Between 2 and 4 nmol adenine nucleotides/mg, State 3 was not limited by the maximal capacity of electron flow as measured by the uncoupled respiration. However, at very low adenine nucleotide levels (<2 nmol/mg), the uncoupled rates of respiration were markedly depressed. State 4 was not affected by changes in the mitochondrial adenine nucleotide content. Adenine translocase activity varied in almost direct correlation with changes in the adenine nucleotide content. Therefore, adenine translocase activity was more sensitive than State 3 to changes in total adenine nucleotides over the range of 4 to 10 nmol/mg protein. The results suggest that (i) State 3 is dependent on the level of intramitochondrial adenine nucleotides, particularly in the range below 4 nmol/mg protein, (ii) adenine translocase activity is not rate-limiting for oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria with the normal complement of adenine nucleotides, however, at low adenine nucleotide levels, depressed State 3 rates may be explained in part by the low rate of ADP translocation, and (iii) a mechanism of net ATP uptake exists in mitochondria with low internal adenine nucleotides.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology