The inner membranes of isolated bovine heart mitochondria undergo pronounced contraction upon being exposed to exogenous adenosine diphosphate (ADP), adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and certain other high-energy phosphate compounds. Contraction results in decrease of inner membrane expanse which in turn results in decrease of intracristal space and increase of mitochondrial optical density (OD). The magnitude of the OD change appears to be proportional to the degree of contraction Half-maximal contraction can be achieved with ADP or ATP at concentrations as low as about 0 3 µM. Atractyloside at concentrations as low as about 1.2 nmol/mg mitochondrial protein completely inhibits the contraction. It is concluded from these and other observations that inner membrane contraction occurs as a result of adenine nucleotide binding to the carrier involved in the exchange of adenine nucleotides across the inner mitochondrial membrane.

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