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Biophysical Journal

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Adsorption, Membranes (Biology), Gel electrophoresis, Zeta potential


Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) vesicles acquire negative surface charge on adsorption of negatively charged pentachlorophenolate (PCP-), and lipophilic ions tetraphenylborate (TPhB-), and dipicrylamine (DPA-). We have obtained (a) zeta-potential isotherms from the measurements of electrophoretic mobility of DPPC vesicles as a function of concentration of the adsorbing ions at different temperatures (25–42 degrees C), and (b) studied the effect of PCP- on gel-to-fluid phase transition by measuring the temperature dependence of zeta-potential at different PCP- concentrations. The zeta-potential isotherms of PCP- at 25, 32, and 34 degrees C correspond to adsorption to membrane in its gel phase. At 42 degrees C the zeta-potential isotherm corresponds to membrane in its fluid phase. These isotherms are well described by a Langmuir-Stern-Grahame adsorption model proposed by McLaughlin and Harary (1977. Biochemistry. 15:1941–1948). The zeta-potential isotherm at 37 degrees C does not follow the single-phase adsorption model. We have also observed anomalous adsorption isotherms for lipophilic ions TPhB- and DPA- at temperatures as low as 25 degrees C. These isotherms demonstrate a gel-to-fluid phase transition driven by ion adsorption to DPPC membrane during which the membrane changes from weakly to a strongly adsorbing state. The anomalous isotherm of PCP- and the temperature dependence of zeta-potential can be described by a two-phase model based on the combination of (a) Langmuir-Stern-Grahame model for each phase, (b) the coexistence of gel and fluid domains, and (c) depression of gel-to-fluid phase transition temperature by PCP-. Within the anomalous region the magnitude of zeta-potential rapidly increases concentration of adsorbing species, which was characterized in terms of a Esin-Markov coefficient. This effect can be exploited in membrane-based devices. Comments are also made on the possible effect of PCP, as an uncoupler, in energy transducing membranes.


Copyright © 1991 The Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.



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