Fatty acids as modulators of cytochrome c oxidase in proteoliposomes

Martyn Sharpe, Ivano Perin, John Wrigglesworth, Peter Nicholls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The control of cytochrome c oxidase turnover in proteoliposomes by membrane potential (ΔΨ) and by pH gradient (ΔpH) is probably kinetic in nature, and inhibition by valinomycin and stimulation by nigericin indicate that ΔpH exerts a greater influence than does an equivalent ΔΨ. Oleic acid at 100 μM removes all ΔΨ and ΔpH control, whereas a similar concentration of palmitic acid increases turnover but does not completely abolish control. Valinomycin acts synergistically with both fatty acids, indicating that the latter can act as H+/K+ exchangers, but neither fatty acid alone markedly affects ΔpH, showing that they cannot fully mimic nigericin. Oleate, but not palmitate, diminishes ΔΨ, and can move electrophoretically as oleate anion, Submicromolar palmitic acid concentrations partly stimulate turnover in ΔΨ- and ΔpH-controlled proteoliposomes, as reported by Labonia, Muller and Azzi, which might represent a direct effect on cytochrome c oxidase. The ubiquity of fatty acids in biological membranes suggests that these substances might be responsible for limiting respiratory control and enzyme activity in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-561
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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