Adenine nucleotide pools were measured in Rhodospirillum rubrum cultures that contained nitrogenase. The average energy charge [([ATP] + 1/2[ADP])/([ATP] + [ADP] + [AMP])] was found to be 0.66 and 0.62 in glutamate-grown and N-limited cultures respectively. Treatment of glutamate-grown cells with darkness, ammonia, glutamine, carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone, or phenazine methosulphate resulted in perturbations in the adenine nucleotide pools, and led to loss of whole-cell nitrogenase activity and modification in vivo of the Fe protein. Treatment of N-limited cells resulted in similar changes in adenine nucleotide pools but not enzyme modification. No correlations were found between changes in adenine nucleotide pools or ratios of these pools and switch-off of nitrogenase activity by Fe protein modification in vivo. Phenazine methosulphate inhibited whole-cell activity at low concentrations. The effect on nitrogenase activity was apparently independent of Fe protein modification.

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