It has been demonstrated that the nature of the physical change in mitochondrial membrane fragments associated with the action of the respiratory enzymes is likely one of shape or symmetry rather than size. The findings suggest that in the state of decreased scattering the macromolecules may be present in an extended physical state. Conditions favorable for phosphorylation may give rise to a folding or contraction of the molecular complex to a more symmetrical structure. Since earlier studies have shown that there is a compulsory relationship between the integrity of systems operative in oxidative phosphorylation and scattering changes, experiments of this type may lead to values for the minimal size of a phosphorylating unit, which at present is estimated to be 2.1 x 106 from light-scattering studies.

This content is only available as a PDF.