Colicin K acts by forming voltage-dependent channels in phospholipid bilayer membranes

Stanley J. Schein, Bruce L. Kagan, Alan Finkelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations

Abstract

The bactericidal action of colicins K, E1, Ia, and other functionally related colicins involves disruption of active transport and leakage of ions from the cell. We show that a single colicin K molecule can form a voltage-dependent, relatively nonselective, ion-permeable channel of a few picosiemens conductance in a planar phospholipid bilayer membrane. In a membrane containing many of these channels, the ratio of the number of conducting to nonconducting channels changes e-fold per 3.7 mV. We suggest that the physiological effects of colicin K and functionally related colicins result from their ability to form ion-permeable channels in the bacterial plasma membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-163
Number of pages5
JournalNature
Volume276
Issue number5684
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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