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J Membr Biol. 1983;71(1-2):119-30.

Effect of 3-phenylindole on lipophilic ion and carrier-mediated ion transport across bilayer lipid membranes.


The physical effects of 3-phenylindole, an antimicrobial compound which interacts with phospholipids, on ion transport across phosphatidylcholine-cholesterol bilayers have been investigated using three lipophilic ions and one ion-carrier complex. It was found that 3-phenylindole increased membrane electrical conductance of positively charged membrane probes and decreased electrical conductance of negatively charged probes. The enhancement of conductance detected by nonactin-K+ complex and tetraphenylarsonium+ was several orders of magnitude, whereas the suppression of conductance due to tetraphenylborate- and dipicrylamine- was less than a factor of ten. Presence of 3-phenylindole in aqueous phase slightly decreased adsorption of tetraphenylborate- and dipicrylamine- at the membrane surface. From the voltage dependence of the steady-state conductance it was shown that 3-phenylindole induced kinetic limitation of membrane transport of potassium mediated by nonactin. No such limitation was found in the case of tetraphenylarsonium+ transport. These results are shown to be consistent with the present concept of ion diffusion in membranes and the assumption that 3-phenylindole decreases the electric potential in the membrane interior. The asymmetry of the effect of 3-phenylindole on the magnitude of conductance changes for positively and negatively charged membrane permeable ions is also discussed as a reflection of the discreteness of both the absorbed 3-phenylindole and lipid dipoles.

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