PMID: 7373277Feb 1, 1980

Spectrophotometric measurements of transmembrane potential and pH gradients in chromaffin granules

The Journal of General Physiology
G SalamaA Scarpa


The electrical potential (delta psi) and proton gradient (alpha pH) across the membranes of isolated bovine chromaffin granules and ghosts were simultaneously and quantitatively measured by using the membrane-permeable dyes 3,3'dipropyl-2,2'thiadicarbocyanine (diS-C3-(5)) to measure delta psi and 9-aminoacridine or atebrin to measure delta pH. Increases or decreases in the delta psi across the granular membrane could be monitored by fluorescence or transmittance changes of diS-C3-(5). Calibration of the delta psi was achieved by utilization of the endogenous K+ and H+ gradients, and valinomycin or carbonyl cyanide-p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone (FCCP), respectively, with the optical response of diS-C3-(5) varying linearly with the Nernst potential for H+ and K+ over the range -60 to +90 mV. The addition of chromaffin granules to a medium including 9-aminoacridine or atebrin resulted in a rapid quenching of the dye fluorescence, which could be reversed by agents known to cause collapse of pH gradients. From the magnitude of the quenching and the intragranular water space, it was possible to calculate the magnitude of the alpha pH across the chromaffin granule membrane. The time-course of the potential-dependent transmittance ...Continue Reading


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