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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Nov 21;92(24):11220-4.

Membrane transport mechanisms probed by capacitance measurements with megahertz voltage clamp.

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Department of Physiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235, USA.


We have used capacitance measurements with a 1-microsecond voltage clamp technique to probe electrogenic ion-transporter interactions in giant excised membrane patches. The hydrophobic ion dipicrylamine was used to test model predictions for a simple charge-moving reaction. The voltage and frequency dependencies of the apparent dipicrylamine-induced capacitance, monitored by 1-mV sinusoidal perturbations, correspond to single charges moving across 76% of the membrane field at a rate of 9500 s-1 at 0 mV. For the cardiac Na,K pump, the combined presence of cytoplasmic ATP and sodium induces an increase of apparent membrane capacitance which requires the presence of extracellular sodium. The dependencies of capacitance changes on frequency, voltage, ATP, and sodium verify that phosphorylation enables a slow, 300- to 900-s-1, pump transition (the E1-E2 conformational change), which in turn enables fast, electrogenic, extracellular sodium binding reactions. For the GAT1 (gamma-aminobutyric acid,Na,Cl) cotransporter, expressed in Xenopus oocyte membrane, we find that chloride binding from the cytoplasmic side, and probably sodium binding from the extracellular side, results in a decrease of membrane capacitance monitored with 1- to 50-kHz perturbation frequencies. Evidently, ion binding by the GAT1 transporter suppresses an intrinsic fast charge movement which may originate from a mobility of charged residues of the transporter binding sites. The results demonstrate that fast capacitance measurements can provide new insight into electrogenic processes closely associated with ion binding by membrane transporters.

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