The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 241–247 | Cite as

Potential-dependent phase partitioning of fluorescent hydrophobic ions in phospholipid vesicles

  • Douglas E. Raines
  • David S. Cafiso


Fluorescent, dansyl derivatives of triphenylalkylphosphonium ions have been synthesized and exhibit fluorescence intensities in small sonicated phospholipid vesicles that are dependent upon transmembrane potentials. The voltage-dependent fluorescence changes are a result of changes in quantum yield that accompany a voltage-dependent phase partitioning of the probe. This phase partitioning is easily quantitated by calibrating the intensities of totally membrane-associated and aqueous probe. The voltage-dependence is well accounted for by a simple thermodynamic model and allows an estimation of potentials from fluorescence intensities in small vesicle systems.

Key Words

membrane potential hydrophobic ions fluorescent probes lipid vesicles 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas E. Raines
    • 1
  • David S. Cafiso
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesville

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