Electrostatic interactions among hydrophobic ions in lipid bilayer membranes Academic Article Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Gramicidin
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Membrane Transport Proteins


  • We have shown that the absorption of tetraphenylborate into black lipid membranes formed from either bacterial phosphatidylethanolamine or glycerolmonooleate produces concentration-dependent changes in the electrostatic potential between the membrane interior and the bulk aqueous phases. These potential changes were studied by a variety of techniques: voltage clamp, charge pulse, and "probe" measurements on black lipid membranes; electrophroetic mobility measurements on phospholipid vesicles; and surface potential measurements on phospholipid monolayers. The magnitude of the potential changes indicates that tetraphenylborate absorbs into a region of the membrane with a low dielectric constant, where it produces substantial boundary potentials, as first suggested by Markin et al. (1971). Many features of our data can be explained by a simple three-capacitor model, which we develop in a self-consistent manner. Some discrepancies between our data and the simple model suggest that discrete charge phenomena may be important within these thin membranes.

publication date

  • August 12, 1978



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/S0006-3495(78)85507-6

PubMed ID

  • 620077

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 35

end page

  • 70


  • 21


  • 1