Ion movement through gramicidin A channels. Interfacial polarization effects on single-channel current measurements
Gramicidin A single-channel current-voltage characteristics were studied at low permeant ion concentrations and very high applied potentials. The purpose of these experiments was to elucidate the basis for the small, but definite, voltage dependence observed under these circumstances. It was found that this residual voltage dependence is a reflection of interfacial polarization effects, similar to those proposed by Walz et al. (Biophys. J. 9:1150-1159). It will be concluded that there exists an effectively voltage-independent step in the association reaction between a gramicidin A channel and the permeating ion. Some consequences of interfacial polarization effects for the analysis of conductance vs. activity relations will be discussed.