Deleting the IF1-like ζ subunit from Paracoccus denitrificans ATP synthase is not sufficient to activate ATP hydrolysis

15 Jan 2018

In oxidative phosphorylation, ATP synthases interconvert two forms of free energy: they are driven by the proton motive force across an energy-transducing membrane to synthesize ATP and displace the ADP/ATP ratio from equilbrium. For thermodynamically-efficient energy conversion they must be reversible catalysts. However, in many species ATP synthases are unidirectional catalysts (their rates of ATP hydrolysis are negligible), and in others mechanisms have evolved to regulate or minimize hydrolysis. Unidirectional catalysis by Paracoccus denitrificans ATP synthase has been attributed to its unique ζ subunit, which is structurally analogous to the mammalian inhibitor protein IF1. Here, we used homologous recombination to delete the ζ subunit from the P. denitrificans genome and compared ATP synthesis and hydrolysis by the wild-type and knockout enzymes in inverted membrane vesicles and the F1-ATPase subcomplex. ATP synthesis was not affected by loss of the ζ subunit, and the rate of ATP hydrolysis increased by less than two fold, remaining negligible in comparison to the rates of the Escherichia coli and mammalian enzymes. Therefore, deleting the P. denitrificans ζ subunit is not sufficient to activate ATP hydrolysis. We close by considering our conclusions in the light of reversible catalysis and regulation in ATP synthase enzymes.