The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 363–388 | Cite as

Studies concerning the possible reconstitution of an active cation pump across an artificial membrane

  • M. K. Jain
  • F. P. White
  • A. Strickholm
  • E. Williams
  • E. H. Cordes


The cortical tissue of rat brain was fractionated through zonal centrifugation in a continuous sucrose density gradient, yielding a variety of morphologically distinct membrane fragments derived from nerve-end particles possessing variable levels of activity of Na, K-dependent Mg-sensitive ATPase (Na, K-ATPase) and other enzymes. Upon addition of certain of the zonal fractions, particularly those rich in the ATPase and acetylcholinesterase activities, to one side of planar artificial membranes, formed from mixtures of oxidized cholesterol and alkanes and bathed in a solution containing sodium, potassium, and magnesium ions, direct current membrane resistance fell from one to three orders of magnitude. Subsequent addition of ATP to the same side of the membrane to which the ATPase was added (thecis side) led to the development of net short-circuit current flow and open-circuit potential across the membrane (thecis side being negative with respect to thetrans side). Development of the short-circuit current and open-circuit potential is dependent upon the presence of all the substrates of Na, K-ATPase as well as that of the enzyme itself. The net current flow is inhibited and the open-circuit potential discharged by the addition of ouabain to thetrans side of the membrane, of phospholipase A to thecis side, or of trypsin to either side of the membrane. These observations provide circumstantial evidence for the reconstitution of the active cation pump across the artificial bilayer. Efforts to effect a similar reconstitution across membranes of this and other compositions employing Na, K-ATPase preparations from beef heart, beef brain, cat brain, human red cells, rabbit kidney, and rat brain microsomes failed.


Ouabain Current Flow Sucrose Density Gradient Acetylcholinesterase Activity Artificial Membrane 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. K. Jain
    • 1
  • F. P. White
    • 1
  • A. Strickholm
    • 1
  • E. Williams
    • 1
  • E. H. Cordes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Anatomy and PhysiologyIndiana UniversityBloomington

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