* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received November 27, 2008; Revision received January 15, 2009
Uncoupling by ammonium of electron transfer and ATP synthesis during linear transfer of electrons from water to photosystem 1 acceptors was studied in pea chloroplasts. It was shown that 40 µM palmitic acid decreased several-fold the ammonium concentrations necessary for 50% inhibition of ATP synthesis. The protonophore carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone has no such property. The enhancement by palmitate of ammonium-induced uncoupling is accompanied by acceleration of basal electron transfer and decrease in the photoinduced uptake of hydrogen ions (H+). In the absence of ammonium, palmitate has no effect on basal transport and stimulates uptake of hydrogen ions. This means that in the case of combined action of palmitate and ammonium an additional leakage of H+ takes place, resulting in dissipation of the pH gradient. Synergic action of two metabolites, free fatty acid and ammonium, is supposed to provide for functioning of a system of mild regulation of energy coupling processes in native plant cell chloroplasts. Possible mechanisms of synergism are discussed.
KEY WORDS: ammonium uncoupling, palmitic acid, electron transfer, ATP synthesis, chloroplasts