Next Article in Journal
Treated Seawater as a Magnesium Source for Phosphorous Recovery from Wastewater—A Feasibility and Cost Analysis
Next Article in Special Issue
Application of Semipermeable Membranes in Glucose Biosensing
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Process-Oriented Review of Bacterial Quorum Quenching for Membrane Biofouling Mitigation in Membrane Bioreactors (MBRs)
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Membranes 2016, 6(4), 53; doi:10.3390/membranes6040053

What Ion Flow along Ion Channels Can Tell us about Their Functional Activity

Department of Chemistry “Ugo Schiff”, University of Florence, Via della Lastruccia, 3, Sesto Fiorentino 50019, Italy
Former Professor at the University of Florence.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Terry Hébert
Received: 29 October 2016 / Revised: 25 November 2016 / Accepted: 1 December 2016 / Published: 13 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [6334 KB, uploaded 13 December 2016]   |  

Abstract

The functional activity of channel-forming peptides and proteins is most directly verified by monitoring the flow of physiologically relevant inorganic ions, such as Na+, K+ and Cl, along the ion channels. Electrical current measurements across bilayer lipid membranes (BLMs) interposed between two aqueous solutions have been widely employed to this end and are still extensively used. However, a major drawback of BLMs is their fragility, high sensitivity toward vibrations and mechanical shocks, and low resistance to electric fields. To overcome this problem, metal-supported tethered BLMs (tBLMs) have been devised, where the BLM is anchored to the metal via a hydrophilic spacer that replaces and mimics the water phase on the metal side. However, only mercury-supported tBLMs can measure and regulate the flow of the above inorganic ions, thanks to mercury liquid state and high hydrogen overpotential. This review summarizes the main results achieved by BLMs incorporating voltage-gated channel-forming peptides, interpreting them on the basis of a kinetic mechanism of nucleation and growth. Hg-supported tBLMs are then described, and their potential for the investigation of voltage-gated and ohmic channels is illustrated by the use of different electrochemical techniques. View Full-Text
Keywords: bilayer lipid membrane; tethered bilayer lipid membrane; voltage-gated ion channel; ohmic ion channel; gramicidin; melittin; alamethicin bilayer lipid membrane; tethered bilayer lipid membrane; voltage-gated ion channel; ohmic ion channel; gramicidin; melittin; alamethicin
Figures

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Becucci, L.; Guidelli, R. What Ion Flow along Ion Channels Can Tell us about Their Functional Activity. Membranes 2016, 6, 53.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Membranes EISSN 2077-0375 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top