Carrier Kinetics Show How the Sodium Pump Uses ATP to Render Pumping of Both Sodium and Potassium Effective, and Suggest a Model for the Action of the F0F1 ATP-Ases

  • Wilfred D. Stein


The counter- and co-transport of many metabolites into and out of the living cell are brought about by coupling of such flows with the flow of sodium or of hydrogen ions (Harold, 1986). By these means, the electrochemical gradient of the pumped metabolite is coupled to the existing gradient of the sodium ion or proton. But how is the electrochemical gradient of the sodium or proton itself established? To understand this process is the task of the present contribution. We shall see that these ions are pumped out of the cell or organelle by primary active transport systems which use metabolic energy directly. The source of metabolic energy in the different primary active transporters may be the splitting of ATP, the harnessing of the flow of electrons in an oxidation-reduction reaction, or the absorbtion of the energy of a photon in the light-driven pumps. In this paper, I shall consider mainly the sodium pump of animal cell plasma membranes, but the principles raised will also be applied to the F1F0 ATPases of mitochondria, chloroplasts and bacteria.


Free Energy Difference Sodium Pump Cytoplasmic Face Pump Cycle Intrinsic Affinity 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wilfred D. Stein
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept of BiochemistryHebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael

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