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Membrane depolarization induced by transcellular osmosis in internodal cells ofNitella flexilis

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Membrane depolarization induced by transcellular osmosis was studied using internodal cells ofNitella flexilis. Transcellular osmosis was induced by using sorbitol or methanol as the osmotic agent. In the endosmotic cell half, the membrane often generated an action potential and depolarized further with a concomitant decrease in membrane resistance. This osmosis-induced depolarization was a graded response dependent on the external osmotic gradients. However, in the exosmotic cell half, both membrane potential and membrane resistance changed insignificantly. Membrane depolarization occurred also in cells made inexcitable by bathing in 0.1–1 mM KCl solution.

Effects of temperature and internal osmotic pressure on osmosis-induced depolarization were investigated. The magnitude of depolarization at low temperature (2 or 4°C) was larger than that at room temperature (around 20°C). Membrane depolarization was accelerated by lowering the internal osmotic pressure and inhibited by raising it.

Not only the plasmalemma but the tonoplast also responded significantly to endosmosis.

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Hayama, T., Nakagawa, S. & Tazawa, M. Membrane depolarization induced by transcellular osmosis in internodal cells ofNitella flexilis . Protoplasma 98, 73–90 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01676663

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  • Methanol
  • Membrane Potential
  • Sorbitol
  • Osmotic Pressure
  • Membrane Depolarization