Frequency and concentration windows for the electric activation of a membrane active transport system

V. S. Markin, T. Y. Tsong

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Abstract

Previous work has shown that a simple four-state membrane transport system can interact with an oscillating electric field to become an active transport system if there is charge translocation associated with conformational changes of the transporter and if affinities of the transporter for the ligand on the two sides of membrane are different. The relationship between the transport flux and both the frequency of the applied field and the concentration of ligand have been examined based on the following assumptions: the rate of the electroconformational change of the transporter is much greater than that of the ligand association/dissociation reaction, and the oscillating electric field has a large amplitude. It was found that the transport flux depends strongly on the frequency of the field and on the concentration of the ligand and it displays a window of broad bandwidth both on the frequency and the concentration axes. The maximum concentration gradient, or the static head, which can be supported by this mechanism is shown to be constant for field frequencies smaller than the rate of the electroconformational change. The static head value diminishes completely when the field frequency exceeds the rate of the conformational change. The presence of an optimal field frequency has been shown experimentally in several membrane enzyme systems. The theory was applied to the description of Rb and Na pumping in human erythrocytes stimulated by an AC field. The prediction of a window for a ligand concentration and the static head value may be tested experimentally. In addition, the rate constants and the equilibrium constants of the four state model can be determined by measuring positions of windows, fluxes, and static head values under different experimental conditions. These results are equally applicable to the oscillation of pressure, membrane tension, substrate concentration, or temperature if these external parameters can induce functionally relevant conformational changes of the transporter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1308-1316
Number of pages9
JournalBiophysical Journal
Volume59
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1991

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics

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