An uncoupler-sensitive active transport of sulphate into membrane vesicles prepared from the plasma membrane of Paracoccus denitrificans (previously Micrococcus denitrificans) can be driven by respiration or by a trans-membrane pH gradient (alkaline inside) generated by the addition either of KCL (in the presence of nigericin) or of NH4CL. Valinomycin does not substitute for nigericin. Respiration-driven transport is observed in right-side-out vesicles but not in inside-out vesicles, whereas transport driven by the addition of KCL (in the presence of nigericin) or of NH4CL is observed in both types of membrane vesicle. The active transport of sulphate into these vesicles is shown to be carrier-mediated by its sensitivity to thiol-group reagents. It is proposed that the sulphate carrier in the plasma membrane of P. denitrificans operates by a mechanism of electroneutral proton symport, and is capable of actively transporting sulphate in either direction across the plasma membrane, but that in whole cells respiration-driven proton expulsion drives the accumulative uptake of sulphate.

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