MiPNet27.06 Prague BEC tutorial-Living Communications pmF

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Bioenergetics Communications        
Tributes to pioneers in bioenergetics
Gnaiger 2020 BEC MitoPathways
Gnaiger Erich et al ― MitoEAGLE Task Group (2020) Mitochondrial physiology. Bioenerg Commun 2020.1.
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Prague CZ, 2022 Sep 22. BEC tutorial-Living Communications: pmF — pre EMC2022 Prague.

MiPsociety (2022-09-22) Mitochondr Physiol Network

Abstract: BEC tutorial-Living Communications. Mitochondrial membrane potential and Peter Mitchell’s protonmotive force: elements of the science of bioenergetics. Preceding the EMC 2022 49th European Muscle Conference, Prague, Czech Republic.

Gnaiger 2020 BEC MitoPathways

The mitochondrial membrane potential is an element of the science of bioenergetics, linked to the control of respiratory flux and related mitochondrial functions. A PubMed search on ‘mitochondrial membrane potential’ yields 40 000 results and 3452 for 2021 (search 2022-09-20), with a linear increase during the past 20 years. Chapter 8 on ‘Protonmotive pressure and respiratory control’ of Mitochondrial Pathways (Gnaiger 2020) introduces a novel perspective on Peter Mitchell’s protonmotive force, which incorporates the mitochondrial membrane potential. If you find the reading is tough, you are not alone. Join this BEC tutorial-Living Communications for an introduction into the relevant concepts of physical chemistry, which differ from misleading chapters in bioenergetics textbooks on potential gradients, Gibbs energy, protonmotive flow and force, and finally protonmotive pressure. This will introduce students (and teachers) to a new understanding of mitochondrial membrane potential and the protonmotive force, connecting the ideal gas equation, osmotic pressure, the Boltzmann constant and gas constant with Fick’s and Einstein’s diffusion equation. If theory gets tough, join for a follow-up retreat.

O2k-Network Lab: AT_Innsbruck_Oroboros, CZ Prague Houstek J

Figure 1.1. Coupling in oxidative phosphorylation is mediated by the protonmotive force pmF.

Last update: 2022-09-20

Dr. Zdenek Drahota received from his team in Prague an Oroboros cake at his 80th birthday

This MiPevent is dedicated to Dr. Zdenek Drahota — one of the greatest mitochondrial physiologists of the Czech Republic — at his 90th birthday:

In collaboration with the Mitochondrial Physiology Society - see MiP2017

Venue and local organizers

Laboratory of Bioenergetics
Institute of Physiology CAS
Videnska 1083
142 20 Prague 4
Czech Republic


  • Blocks of 10 + 5 min comments, questions, discussion
  • Sections of Chapter 8, Blue Book
Thursday, Sep 22Protonmotive force pmF = ΔmFH+ and protonmotive pressure ΔmΠH+
Time Section Topic a b c d
10:00-10:15 8. Overview: from Mitchell's four modules to four protonmotive theorems diffusive pressure gradient pressure difference and potential difference diffusive and electric pressure difference concave to convex flow/force
10:15-10:25 8.1. 1. Vectorial and scalar quantities amount and charge format diffusion: gradients and compartments stoichiometry and advancement
10:30-10:40 8.2. 2. Why is thermodynamics scary? chemical potential metabolic force Gibbs energy - exergy
10:45-10:50 8.2. 3. The elementary unit SI base units elementary quantities count on motive units beyond the Gas constant: Boltzmann, Avogadro, Faraday
11:00-11:10 8.3. 4. Protonmotive force and motive units Why Δp? pmF formats conversion between formats measurement of the pmF
11:15-11:45 Coffee/tea - Chat
11:45-11:55 8.4.1. 5. Protonmotive pressure pmP linearity diffusion gradients and Einstein's diffusion equation Fick's law pressure-force confusion thermodynamics of irreversible processes
12:00-12:10 8.4.2. 6. Compartments: diffusion and osmotic pressure concave flux/force relation free activity infinite forces without explosion
12:15-12:25 8.4.3. 7. Hydrogen ions and counterions if the force is in ∆pH electroneutral exchange of counterions equilibrium H+ and counterion distribution concave flow (pressure)/force relation
12:30-12:45 8.4.4. 8. Matrix volume fraction and flux-pressure linearity anodic volume fraction closed to open anodic system from intensity to capacity non-ohmic proton leak explained by first principles
12:45-13:00 General discussion with a glass of wine - a taste of Gentle Science
» Programme: BEC tutorial-Living Communications: pmF to pmP

Lecturer and participants


Restricted number of participants: countmax = (29 + 1) x

Registration and general information

  • Informal, no registration fee - send Email to: [email protected]
  • Limited number of participants
  • Provide your name and affiliation (if you wish for the website)
  • Provide a foto (if you wish for the website)


The event will be held in accordance with current COVID regulations. A primary concern must be the safety of our participants and staff, which is why we reserve the right to cancel the event if there are any concerns/restrictions.

Recommended reading

Hydrogen ion circuit and coupling in OXPHOS
Gnaiger 2020 BEC MitoPathways
  1. Mitchell P (1966) Chemiosmotic coupling in oxidative and photosynthetic phosphorylation. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbabio.2011.09.018
  2. Gnaiger E (2020) Mitochondrial pathways and respiratory control. An introduction to OXPHOS analysis. 5th ed. https://doi.org/10.26124/bec:2020-0002 - Chapter 8
  3. Gnaiger E (2021) The elementary unit — canonical reviewer's comments on: Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (2019) The International System of Units (SI) 9th ed. https://doi.org/10.26124/mitofit:200004.v2

» MitoPedia: Ergodynamics

BEC tutorials are listed as MitoGlobal Events.


ORO, MiP, 2022, MitoGlobal 

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