1. Trialkyltin, triphenyltin and diphenyleneiodonium compounds inhibited ADP-stimulated O2 evolution by isolated pea chloroplasts in the presence of phosphate or arsenate. Tributyltin and triphenyltin were the most effective inhibitors, which suggests a highly hydrophobic site of action. Phenylmercuric acetate was a poor inhibitor of photophosphorylation, which suggests that thiol groups are not involved. 2. Triethyltin was a potent uncoupler of photophosphorylation by isolated chloroplasts in media containing Cl-, but had little uncoupling activity when Cl- was replaced by NO3- or SO42-, which are inactive in the anion–hydroxide exchange. It is suggested that uncoupling by triethyltin is a result of the Cl-–OH- exchange together with a natural uniport of Cl-. Tributyltin, triphenyltin and phenylmercuric acetate had low uncoupling activity, probably because in these compounds the uncoupling activity is partially masked by inhibitory effects. 3. At high concentrations the organotin compounds caused inhibition of electron transport uncoupled by carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone or NH4Cl. At these high concentrations the organotin compounds may be producing a detergent-like disorganization of the membrane structure. In contrast, diphenyleneiodonium sulphate inhibited uncoupled electron transport at low concentrations; however, this inhibition is less than the inhibition of photophosphorylation, which suggests that the compound also inhibits the phosphorylation reactions as well as electron transport. 4. The effects of these compounds on basal electron transport were complex and depended on the pH of the reaction media. However, they can be explained on the basis of three actions: inhibition of the phosphorylation reactions, uncoupling and direct inhibition of electron transport. 5. The inhibition of cyclic photophosphorylation in the presence of phenazine methosulphate by diphenyleneiodonium sulphate shows that it inhibits in the region of photosystem 1.
- © 1974 The Biochemical Society