ID #1851

I have in my notes that a positively charged basic protein wants to be in a negatively charged place such as the matrix of the mitochondria (which explains why you don't need ATP to get it there). However, there is also a previous slide showing the electrochemical gradient in the matrix. This figure shows the pH of the matrix as 8 as opposed to the intermembrane space which is 7. Doesn't this imply that the matrix is slightly basic? How is it then that a basic protein is positive and a slightly basic matrix is negative?

It's not that the matrix is negative, it's that it's less positive than the cytoplasm. Something positive, like a presequence, would "rather" be in an environment with fewer positive charges (protons) than an environment with more of those positive charges. And the matrix has fewer protons in it than the cytoplasm or intermembrane space do.

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