A hydroxide ion carrier in planar phospholipid bilayer membranes: (C6F5)2Hg (dipentafluorophenylmercury)

Robert O. Blaustein, Alan Finkelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Although a number of molecules are known to function as current-carrying proton carriers across lipid bilayer membranes, no such hydroxide ion carriers have been found to date. We report that (C6F5)2 Hg, which can function as a chloride ion carrier, can also carry a hydroxide ion. In 100 mM Na2SO4 solutions, membranes treated with (C6F5)2Hg are almost ideally selective for H+/OH- between pH 6.0 and 9.5. Membrane conductance varies linearly with [OH-] over this pH range and with the square of the (C6F5)2Hg concentration. The presumed current-carrying species is the dimer [(C6F5)2Hg]2OH-, which, along with the neutral molecule (C6F5)2Hg, shuttles back and forth within the bilayer. In 0.2 M NaCl at pH 9.5, the OH- and Cl- conductances are approximately equal. Thus, the carrier displays an approximately 104-fold preference for OH- over Cl-.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-226
Number of pages6
JournalBBA - Biomembranes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 22 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydroxide carrier
  • Lipid bilayer
  • Mercury
  • Proton carrier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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