Cytoplasmic pH measurement and homeostasis in bacteria and archaea.
Oxidation of Fe2+, ascorbic acid, propyl gallate, tiron, L-cysteine, and glutathione by Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans was studied with respect to the effect of electron transport inhibitors and uncouplers on the rate of oxidation. All the oxidations were sensitive to inhibitors of cytochrome c oxidase, KCN, and NaN3. They were also partially inhibited by inhibitors of complex I and complex III of the electron transport system. Uncouplers at low concentrations stimulated the oxidation and inhibited it at higher concentrations. The oxidation rates of Fe2+ and L-cysteine inhibited by complex I and complex III inhibitors (amytal, rotenone, antimycin A, myxothiazol, and HQNO) were stimulated more extensively by uncouplers than the control rates. Atabrine, a flavin antagonist, was an exception, and atabrine-inhibited oxidation activities of all these compounds were further inhibited by uncouplers. A model for the electron transport pathways of A. ferrooxidans is proposed to account for these results. In the model these organic substrates reduce ferric iron on the surface of cells to ferrous iron, which is oxidized back to ferric iron through the Fe2+ oxidation pathway, leading to cytochrome oxidase to O2. Some of electrons enter the uphill (energy-requiring) electron transport pathway to reduce NAD+. Uncouplers at low concentrations stimulate Fe2+ oxidation by stimulating cytochrome oxidase by uncoupling. Higher concentrations lower deltap to the level insufficient to overcome the potentially uphill reaction at rusticyanin-cytochrome c4. Inhibition of uphill reactions at complex I and complex III leads to deltap accumulation and inhibition of cytochrome oxidase. Uncouplers remove the inhibition of deltap and stimulate the oxidation. Atabrine inhibition is not released by uncouplers, which implies a possibility of atabrine inhibition at a site other than complex I, but a site somehow involved in the Fe2+ oxidation pathway.