1. The organic mercurial sodium mersalyl, formaldehyde, dicyclohexylcarbodiimide and tributyltin each blocked respiratory-chain-linked ATP synthesis in rat liver mitochondria. 2. Mersalyl and formaldehyde also blocked a number of other processes dependent on the entry of inorganic phosphate into mitochondria, including mitochondrial respiration and swelling stimulated by cations and phosphate, the substrate-level phosphorylation reaction of the citric acid cycle, and swelling in ammonium phosphate. 3. Dicyclohexylcarbodi-imide and tributyltin did not inhibit the entry of phosphate into mitochondria. 4. Mersalyl and formaldehyde had a relatively slight effect on succinate oxidation and swelling stimulated by cations when phosphate was replaced by acetate, on succinate oxidation stimulated by uncoupling agents, and on swelling in solutions of ammonium salts other than phosphate or arsenate. 5. Formaldehyde blocked the oxidation of NAD-linked substrates in mitochondria treated with 2,4-dinitrophenol and the ATP-dependent reduction of NAD by succinate catalysed by ox heart submitochondrial particles. Both these effects appear to be due to an inhibition by formaldehyde of the NAD–flavin region of the respiratory chain. 6. Concentrations of dicyclohexylcarbodiimide or tributyltin sufficient to abolish ADP-stimulated respiration blocked the dinitrophenol-stimulated adenosine triphosphatase activity, whereas mersalyl and formaldehyde caused only partial inhibition of ATP hydrolysis. 7. When mitochondria were incubated with dinitrophenol and ATP, less than 10% of the total inorganic phosphate liberated was recovered in the mitochondria and no swelling occurred. In the presence of mersalyl or formaldehyde at least 80% of the total inorganic phosphate liberated was retained in the mitochondria and extensive swelling was observed. This swelling was inhibited by oligomycin but not by antimycin or rotenone. 8. The addition of mersalyl to mitochondria swollen by treatment with valinomycin, K+ and phosphate blocked the contraction induced by dinitrophenol and caused an increase in the phosphate content of the mitochondria, but had no effect on the contraction of mitochondria when phosphate was replaced by acetate. 9. It is concluded that mitochondria contain a phosphate-transporter system, which catalyses the movement of phosphate in either direction across the mitochondrial membrane, and that this system is inactivated by organic mercurials and by formaldehyde. Evidence is presented that the phosphate-transporter system is situated in the inner membrane of rat liver mitochondria and is also present in other types of mammalian mitochondria.

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