Nystatin and amphotericin B induce a cation-selective conductance when added to one side of a lipid bilayer membrane and an anion-selective conductance when added to both sides. The concentrations of antibiotic required for the one-sided action are comparable to those employed on plasma membranes and are considerably larger than those required for the two-sided action. We propose that the two-sided effect results from the formation of aqueous pores formed by the hydrogen bonding in the middle of the bilayer of two "half pores," whereas the one-sided effect results from the half pores alone. We discuss, in terms of the flexibility of bilayer structure and its thickness, how it is possible to have conducting half pores and "complete pores" in the same membrane. The role of sterol (cholesterol and ergosterol) in pore formation is also examined.
ASJC Scopus subject areas