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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1994 Feb 23;1190(1):57-71.

Cation effluxes associated with the uptake of TPP+, TPA+, and TPMP+ by Neurospora: evidence for a predominantly electroneutral influx process.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510.


Previously observed anomalies in the transport of lipid-soluble cations (LSI's) - presumed voltage-probe ions-by intact fungal cells [1] prompted a systematic investigation of ion exchanges induced by high (millimolar) concentrations of the particular species tetraphenylphosphonium ion (TPP+), tetraphenylarsonium ion (TPA+), and triphenylmethylphosphonium ion (TPMP+). With low extracellular free Ca2+ (no calcium added to the medium), influx of the LSI's was biphasic, indicating rapid entry into the cytoplasm followed by sequestration into a subcompartment. The latter process, especially, was strongly inhibited by extracellular Ca2+ (1 mM). Contrary to the expectation for electrophoretically driven entry of LSI's into fungal cells, no major efflux of protons (acidification of the medium) could be measured; in fact, significant alkalinization of the medium was observed. The major cellular inorganic cations, K+ or Na+ (under different conditions), were released during LSI uptake, but with kinetic behavior which clearly ruled out direct coupling to the uptake of TPP+, TPA+, or TPMP+. The major mechanism for entry of these lipid-soluble cations into Neurospora appears to be electroneutral diffusion in combination with one or more hydrophilic anions. Subsequent penetration of the fungal vacuoles would result in binding of LSI's to storage polyanions (viz., polyphosphate) and concomitant displacement of the normal vacuolar cations, such as basic amino acids and polyamines, thus leading to alkalinization of the extracellular medium. The observed effluxes of cytoplasmic K+ and Na+ should result independently from energetic changes (i.e., uncoupling of the mitochondrial) and are most easily described by simple, but asynchronous, changes in the average rate constants for entry and exit of the alkali-metal cations.

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