Biology as Poetry: Bioenergetics

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Generation of Proton Motive Force

Primary function of electron transport chains.

This function is particularly other than NAD+ regeneration.

Proton motive force also can be generated via primary active transport, that is, using ATP-driven proton pumps. Use of electron transport chains to generate proton motive force, when available, however takes precedence. The resulting force employed for ATP generation via the action of ATP synthase, and to power cotransport, i.e., secondary active transport.

Recall that during biological redox reactions, electrons tend to be accompanied by hydrogen ions. These hydrogen ions contribute to the proton motive force generated by electron transport chains. That is, the hyrogen ions/protons originate in the mitochondrial matrix in part accompanying these reducing electrons and are then passed outward to the intermembrane space.

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