The Biology Project: Biochemistry

Metabolism Problem Set

Problem 5 Tutorial: Effect of pH on Mitochondria

If you isolate mitochondria and place them in buffer with a low pH they begin to manufacture ATP. Why?

Permeability of outer membrane

Mitochondrial production of ATP requires a concentration gradient of H+, with a high concentration at the inter membrane space and a low concentration in the matrix. The inner membrane is is impermeable to H+, but the outer membrane of the mitochondria will allow H+ to pass through.

Thus, placing mitochondria in a low pH buffer produces a H+ gradient that can generate ATP through ATP synthetase.

The Biology Project
University of Arizona
Tuesday, August 20, 1996
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