Spontaneous ultraweak light emission from respiring spinach leaf mitochondria

Èva Hideg, Masaki Kobayashi, Humio Inaba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)


Mitochondria isolated from spinach leaves showed spontaneous ultraweak light emission depending on the respiration with succinate. This emission was sensitive to respiratory inhibitors, such as, antimycin-A and potassium cyanide. Mitochondrial photoemission was inhibited by azide and salicylhyrdoxamic acid and enhanced in the presence of 1,4-diazabicyclo[2,2,2]-octane (DABCO), implying a role of singlet oxygen in the process. Ultraweak light emission and singlet oxygen production, the latter determined spectroscopically in experiments parallel to light measurements, exhibited similar changes upon various chemical treatments. The emission spectrum of ultraweak light closely resembles that of chemiluminescence from an in vitro (linoleic acid + peroxidase) lipid peroxidation. We suggest that the observed phenomenon is a result of the peroxidation of mitochondrial membrane lipids initiated by the activity of the respiratory electron transport, probably at the cytochrome c site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-31
Number of pages5
JournalBBA - Bioenergetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 3 1991


  • Emission spectrum
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Mitochondrion
  • Spinach
  • Ultraweak light emission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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