Cytochrome c oxidase from ox heart was inserted into artificial liposomal vesicles obtained by sonication of purified soya-bean phospholipids. The cytochrome oxidase vesicles showed a respiratory control ratio of about 2. Spectroscopic properties in the visible and Soret regions and kinetics of CO binding are similar to those of the soluble oxidase. The catalytic efficiency of the cytochrome oxidase vesicles in oxidizing cytochrome c increases as a result of the formation of the ‘pulsed’ form of the oxidase and of the presence in the reaction mixture of carbonyl cyanide p-trifluoromethoxy-phenylhydrazone and nonactin. Analysis of the experimental results obtained under several conditions supports the conclusions that: (i) the alkalinization of the internal microenvironment in the liposomal vesicle is not by itself responsible for the decrease in catalytic activity; (ii) the electrical potential difference created during turnover by proton consumption and/or pumping through the liposome wall is an important mechanism of control in the chain of events leading to the oxidation of external cytochrome c.
- © 1983 London: The Biochemical Society