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Am J Physiol. 1993 Jun;264(6 Pt 1):C1532-7.

Novobiocin forms cation-permeable ion channels in rat fetal distal lung epithelium.

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Division of Respiratory Research, Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The antibiotic novobiocin has been previously reported to increase Na+ transport in frog skin, presumably by attenuation of Na+ self-inhibition of Na+ channels. To determine whether novobiocin had similar effects and utilized a similar mechanism in mammalian Na(+)-transporting tissues, we studied its effect on ion transport by primary cultures of fetal distal lung epithelium (FDLE) cultured from 20-day gestationally aged rats (term = 22 days). Novobiocin (10 mM) increased short-circuit current and markedly decreased the resistance in FDLE monolayers mounted in Ussing chambers. Fura-2 single-cell studies showed that novobiocin increased intracellular Ca2+ concentration and that this resulted from extracellular sources. Nystatin-perforated patch-clamp techniques demonstrated that novobiocin increased nonrectifying cation whole cell currents without inducing detectable anion currents. Novobiocin created nonrectifying monovalent cation-selective channels in lipid bilayers. These studies demonstrated that novobiocin affects the bioelectric properties of Na+ transporting lung epithelium and that this likely occurs by the formation of ion-permeant channels in their lipid membranes.

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