Electroporation of the photosynthetic membrane: A study by intrinsic and external optical probes

Yosef Rosemberg, Rafi Korenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study examines the relationship between electric field-induced conductivity and permeability changes in a biological membrane (electroporation) and the amplitude-duration parameters of the externally applied electric field. These reversible changes were characterized in giant photosynthetic membrane vesicles by means of the calibrated response of an intrinsic voltage-sensitive optical probe (electrophotoluminescence) and by the uptake studies of dextran-FITC fluorescent probes of different molecular weights. We quantitatively monitored electric field-induced conductivity changes by translating the electrophotoluminescence changes into conductivity changes. This was carried out by measuring the attenuation of the electrophotoluminescent signal after the addition of known amounts of gramicidin. The results demonstrate that electroporation involves the reversible formation of discrete holes in the membrane having radii <5.8 nm. The total area of the electric field-induced holes was 0.075% of the total surface of the vesicle. The formation of the electropores was affected differently by the electric field strength than by its duration. Increase in electric field strength caused increase in the total area of the vesicle that undergoes electroporation. Increase in the duration of the electric field increases the area of single electropores. Each of the two electric parameters can be rate limiting for the dynamics of electropore formation. These results are in accordance with the model of electroporation based on electric field-induced expansion of transient aqueous holes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-832
Number of pages10
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990


Dive into the research topics of 'Electroporation of the photosynthetic membrane: A study by intrinsic and external optical probes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this