Single ionic channels induced in lipid bilayers by polyene antibiotics amphotericin B and nystatine


AMPHOTERICIN B and nystatine increase the permeability of lipid membranes to ions, water and non-electrolytes1,2. Cholesterol (or some other sterols) is a necessary membrane component for the antibiotics to be effective1,3. Permeability to water and non-electrolytes increases linearly with ion permeability2. The molecules of the size of glucose and larger are essentially impermeant. It is concluded2,4 that amphotericin B and nystatine form aqueous pores with an effective radius of approximately 4 Å in thin lipid membranes. The changes in membrane conductance connected with the formation of a single pore have, however, not yet been observed. In this paper the properties of individual conductance channels induced in black lipid membranes by amphotericin B and nystatine are described briefly.

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  1. 1

    Andreoli, T. E., and Monahan, M., J. gen. Physiol., 52, 300–325 (1968).

  2. 2

    Holz, A., and Finkelstein, A., J. gen. Physiol., 56, 125–145 (1970).

  3. 3

    Kasumov, Kh. M., and Liberman, E. A., Biofizika, 17, 1024–1031 (1972).

  4. 4

    Dennis, V. W., Stead, N. W., and Andreoli, T. E., J. gen. Physiol., 55, 375–400 (1970).

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