S. Brazovskii, P. Monceau and N. Kirova
J. Phys. IV France 131 (2005) 363-366
Electromagnetic probes of molecular motors in the electron transport chains of mitochondria and chloroplastsJ.H. Miller Jr.1, D. Nawarathna1, V. Vajrala1, J. Gardner2 and W.R. Widger2
1 Department of Physics, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204-5005, USA
2 Dept. of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204-5001, USA
We report on measurements of harmonics generated by whole cells, mitochondria, and chloroplasts in response to applied sinusoidal electric fields. The frequency- and amplitude-dependence of the induced harmonics exhibit features that correlate with physiological processes. Budding yeast (S. cerevisiae) cells produce numerous harmonics, the amplitudes of which depend strongly on frequency. When the second or third harmonic amplitude is plotted vs. applied frequency, we observe two peaks, around 3 kHz and 12 kHz, which are suppressed by respiratory inhibitors. We observe similar peaks when measuring the harmonic response of B. indicas, a relative of the mitochondrial ancestor. In uncoupled mitochondria, in which most of the electron transport chain is active but the ATP-synthase molecular turbine is inactive, only one (lower frequency) of the two peaks is present. Finally, we find that harmonics generated by chloroplasts depend dramatically on incident light, and vanish in the absence of light.
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