alexa Proton-Electrostatics Hypothesis for Localized Proton Coupling Bioenergetics
ISSN: 2167-7662

Bioenergetics: Open Access
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Research Article

Proton-Electrostatics Hypothesis for Localized Proton Coupling Bioenergetics

James Weifu Lee1,2*
1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Old Dominion University, Physical Sciences Building 3100, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA
2Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 118 Latrobe Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
Corresponding Author : James Weifu Lee
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Old Dominion University, Physical Sciences Building 3100
Norfolk, VA 23529, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received May 19, 2012; Accepted May 29, 2012; Published June 04, 2012
Citation: Lee JW (2012) Proton-Electrostatics Hypothesis for Localized Proton Coupling Bioenergetics. Bioenergetics 1:104. doi:10.4172/2167-7662.1000104
Copyright: © 2012 Lee JW . This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

According to the proton-electrostatics localization hypothesis presented in this work, protons injected into a thylakoid may be electrostatically localized at the water-membrane interface along the lumenal surface. This hypothesis provides a natural frame work to explain a wide range of experimental observations in the bioenergetics of chloroplast and other biological systems conducted since the 1960s, including the longstanding well-characterized energetic problems of alkalophilic bacteria such as Bacillus firmus. It can also help reconcile the elegant scientific observations of both the Dilley experiment and the Junge neutral-red thylakoid proton detection. Our analysis indicates that the Mitchellian view of delocalized proton coupling to ATP synthase could only be true under special circumstances; namely, when the membrane electrical potential difference is near zero and the bulk phase-to-bulk phase pH difference becomes the dominant factor. The proton coupling under most physiological conditions of photosynthesis is likely to occur in a mixed state of proton electrostatic localization of excess charge at the membrane surface and delocalization in the bulk media. The proton-electrostatics localization hypothesis leads to a new bioenergetics equation for the proton motive force which may provide a unified framework for understanding the energetics of many biological systems.

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