Characteristics of inorganic pyrophosphate synthesis from inorganic orthophosphate were examined in chromatophores of Rhodospirillum rubrum. The application of an ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase-trapping system has shown in an unequivocal fashion that pyrophosphate is a product of a light-dependent reaction utilizing Pi as the substrate. Only very limited pyrophosphate synthesis takes place in the dark. The rates of synthesis of both ATP and pyrophosphate were studied under conditions in which the membrane-bound adenosine triphosphatase and pyrophosphatase activities would normally make these substances unstable. The maximum rate of pyrophosphate synthesis was 25% of that for ATP synthesis, with maximum activation of pyrophosphate synthesis occurring at a lower light-intensity than that required for ATP synthesis. As a result, at low light-intensity the rate of pyrophosphate formation approached that of ATP. Maximal rates of synthesis of both pyrophosphate and ATP were attained only on the addition of an exogenous reducing agent. Conditions for optimum pyrophosphate synthesis required about one-half of the concentration of the reductant required for maximum ATP synthesis. Consistent with previous reports, oligomycin inhibited ATP synthesis, but had little influence on the rate of pyrophosphate synthesis. In membrane particles that retained pyrophosphatase activity but were treated to remove adenosine triphosphatase activity and the ability to photophosphorylate ADP, oligomycin stimulated light-dependent pyrophosphate synthesis by nearly 250%. The influence of Mg2+concentration, pH and various inhibitors and uncouplers on pyrophosphate synthesis was studied. The results are discussed with respect to the mechanism and function of electron-transport-coupled energy conservation in R. rubrum chromatophores.

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