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Ionic channel formation in a living cell membrane


THERE have been several attempts to study cell membrane formation by the use of protoplasmic droplets extruded from plant cells into appropriate solutions1. The formation of a membrane on the surface of such droplets has been confirmed by optical, electrical and other measurements2–4, but some properties of these unnatural membranes have been questioned5. I report here experiments which indicate the possibility of observing membrane formation in a living cell. The method was based on the sealing effect6–8 which isolates a microelectrode tip from protoplasm into which it has been inserted.

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  1. 1

    Kamiya, N. & Kuroda, K. Proc. Japan Acad. 33, 149–152 (1957).

  2. 2

    Inoue, I., Ishima, Y., Horie, H. & Takenaka, T. Proc. Japan Acad. 47, 549–553 (1971).

  3. 3

    Inoue, I., Ishida, N. & Kobatake, Y. Biochim. biophys. Acta 330, 27–38 (1973); 367, 24–31 (1974).

  4. 4

    Koppenhofer, E. Pflugers Arch. ges. Physiol. 347, R36 (1974); 355, R82 (1975); 258, 179–187 (1975).

  5. 5

    Koppenhofer, E. Pflugers Arch. ges. Physiol. 361, 263–267 (1976).

  6. 6

    Umrath, K. Protoplasma 16, 173–188 (1932).

  7. 7

    Walker, N. A. Aust. J. biol. Sci. 8, 476–489 (1955).

  8. 8

    Skierczynska, J. J. exp. Bot. 19, 389–406 (1968).

  9. 9

    Moore, J. W. in Biophysics and Physiology of Excitable Membranes (ed. Adelman W. J.) 159 (Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1971).

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