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Effect of divalent cations on the assembly of neutral and charged phospholipid bilayers in patch-recording pipettes.

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  • Research Article


Monolayers of the negatively charged phospholipid phosphatidylserine (PS) and of the amphoteric phospholipid dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE) were used to assemble bilayers at the tip of patch-recording pipettes. PS bilayers, with seal resistances in the range of gigaohmns (gigaseals), could only be generated when millimolar concentration of divalent cations, Ca++, Mg++, or Ba++ were present in the pipette and bath solutions. In contrast, gigaseals of DOPE were independent of divalent ion concentration in the pH range where DOPE is predominantly neutral (pH 6.5) or positively charged (pH 1.5). At pH 10.0, when most DOPE molecules bear a net negative charge, gigaseals became divalent cation dependent, in a manner quantitatively similar to that of PS at neutral pH. The results indicate that divalent cations play an important role in stabilizing gigaseals of negatively charged lipid but are of no consequence in neutral or positively charged seals.

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