Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 151, Issue 6, pp 530–536 | Cite as

ATP is required for K+ active transport in the archaebacterium Haloferax volcanii

  • Jean Meury
  • Masamichi Kohiyama
Original Papers


The Archaebacterium Haloferax volcanii concentrates K+ up to 3.6 M. This creates a very large K+ ion gradient of between 500- to 1,000-fold across the cell membrane. H. volcanii cells can be partially depleted of their internal K+ but the residual K+ concentration cannot be lowered below 1.5 M. In these conditions, the cells retain the ability to take up potassium from the medium and to restore a high internal K+ concentration (3 to 3.2 M) via an energy dependent, active transport mechanism with a Km of between 1 to 2 mM. The driving force for K+ transport has been explored. Internal K+ concentration is not in equilibrium with ΔΨm suggesting that K+ transport cannot be accounted for by a passive uniport process. A requirement for ATP has been found. Indeed, the depletion of the ATP pool by arsenate or the inhibition of ATP synthesis by N,N′-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide inhibits by 100% K+ transport even though membrane potential ΔΨm is maintained under these conditions. By contrast, the necessity of a ΔΨm for K+ accumulation has not yet been clearly demonstrated. K+ transport in H. volcanii can be compared with K+ transport via the Trk system in Escherichia coli.

Key words

Archaebacteria K+ transport Haloferax volcanii 



Carbonylcyanide m-chlorophenyl-hydrazone




2-[N-morpholino] ethane sulfonic acid


3-[N-morpholino] propane sulfonic acid


Tris (hydroxymethyl) aminomethane


tetraphenyl phosphonium


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Meury
    • 1
  • Masamichi Kohiyama
    • 1
  1. 1.Biochimie Génétique, Institut Jacques MonodUniversité Paris VIIParis Cédex 05France

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