This study employing the latest theory on transmembrane electrostatic proton localization has now, for the first time, consistently elucidated a decades-longstanding bioenergetic conundrum in alkalophilic bacteria and more importantly discovered an entirely new feature: isothermal environmental heat utilization by electrostatically localized protons at the liquid-membrane interface. It was surprisingly revealed that the protonic motive force (equivalent to Gibbs free energy) from the isothermal environmental heat energy utilization through the electrostatically localized protons is not constrained by the overall energetics of the redox-driven proton pump system because of the following: (a) the transmembrane electrostatically localized protons are not free to move away from the membrane surface as a protonic capacitor feature; (b) the proton pumps embedded in the cell membrane extend beyond the localized proton layer apparently as an asymmetric property of the biological membrane; and (c) the protonic inlet mouth of the ATP synthase that accepts protons is located within this layer as another natural property of the asymmetric biological membrane. This work has now, for the first time, shown a novel thermotrophic feature where biological systems can isothermally utilize environmental heat energy through transmembrane electrostatically localized protons to help drive ATP synthesis.
Original Publication Citation
Lee, J. W. (2020). Isothermal environmental heat energy utilization by transmembrane electrostatically localized protons at the liquid-membrane interface. ACS Omega, 5(28), 17385-17395. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsomega.0c01768
Lee, James Weifu, "Isothermal Environmental Heat Energy Utilization by Transmembrane Electrostatically Localized Protons at the Liquid-Membrane Interface" (2020). Chemistry & Biochemistry Faculty Publications. 189.