The mitochondrial F1Fo-ATPase performs the terminal step of oxidative phosphorylation. Small molecules that modulate this enzyme have been invaluable in helping decipher F1Fo-ATPase structure, function, and mechanism. Aurovertin is an antibiotic that binds to the β subunits in the F1 domain and inhibits F1Fo-ATPase-catalyzed ATP synthesis in preference to ATP hydrolysis. Despite extensive study and the existence of crystallographic data, the molecular basis of the differential inhibition and kinetic mechanism of inhibition of ATP synthesis by aurovertin has not been resolved. To address these questions, we conducted a series of experiments in both bovine heart mitochondria and E. coli membrane F1Fo-ATPase. Aurovertin is a mixed, noncompetitive inhibitor of both ATP hydrolysis and synthesis with lower Ki values for synthesis. At low substrate concentrations, inhibition is cooperative suggesting a stoichiometry of two aurovertin per F1Fo-ATPase. Furthermore, aurovertin does not completely inhibit the ATP hydrolytic activity at saturating concentrations. Single-molecule experiments provide evidence that the residual rate of ATP hydrolysis seen in the presence of saturating concentrations of aurovertin results from a decrease in the binding change mechanism by hindering catalytic site interactions. The results from these studies should further the understanding of how the F1Fo-ATPase catalyzes ATP synthesis and hydrolysis. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 91: 830–840, 2009.
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