The dynamic computer model of oxidative phosphorylation developed previously and successfully tested for large-scale changes in fluxes and metabolite concentrations was used to study the question of how the rate of ATP production by oxidative phosphorylation is adjusted to meet the energy demand during muscle contraction, which causes a great increase in ATP consumption in relation to the resting state. The changes in the respiration rate and ATP/ADP ratio after the onset of maximal work measured experimentally were compared with simulated changes in the respiration rate and ATP/ADP in several different cases, assuming direct activation of different steps by an external effector. On the basis of the computer simulations performed, it was possible to conclude which enzymes/metabolic blocks should be directly activated to cause the experimentally observable changes in fluxes and metabolite concentrations. The theoretical results obtained suggest that the parallel direct activation of actinomyosin-ATP-ase and oxidative phosphorylation by an external effector (for example calcium ions) is the main mechanism responsible for fitting of ATP production to ATP consumption, while the negative feedback via an increase in ADP concentration (decrease in ATP/ADP), which indirectly activates the ATP supply, plays only a minor role. Additionally, the conclusion is drawn that most of the oxidative phosphorylation steps should be directly activated in order to explain the observed changes in the respiration rate and ATP/ADP ratio (and also in other parameters) during muscle contraction. It is suggested that there should exist a universal external activator/regulatory mechanism which causes a parallel stimulation of different enzymes/processes. A possible nature of such an activator is shortly discussed.

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