Anacardic acid-mediated changes in membrane potential and pH gradient across liposomal membranes

Masaaki Toyomizu, Katsuyuki Okamoto, Yukio Akiba, Tetsuo Nakatsu, Tetsuya Konishi

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    24 Citations (Scopus)


    We have previously shown that anacardic acid has an uncoupling effect on oxidative phosphorylation in rat liver mitochondria using succinate as a substrate (Life Sci. 66 (2000) 229-234). In the present study, for clarification of the physicochemical characteristics of anacardic acid, we used a cyanine dye (DiS-C3(5)) and 9-aminoacridine (9-AA) to determine changes of membrane potential (ΔΨ) and pH difference (ΔpH), respectively, in a liposome suspension in response to the addition of anacardic acid to the suspension. The anacardic acid quenched DiS-C3(5) fluorescence at concentrations higher than 300 nM, with the degree of quenching being dependent on the log concentration of the acid. Furthermore, the K+ diffusion potential generated by the addition of valinomycin to the suspension decreased for each increase in anacardic acid concentration used over 300 nM, but the sum of the anacardic acid- and valinomycin-mediated quenching was additively increasing. This indicates that the anacardic acid-mediated quenching was not due simply to increments in the K+ permeability of the membrane. Addition of anacardic acid in the micromolar range to the liposomes with ΔΨ formed by valinomycin-K+ did not significantly alter 9-AA fluorescence, but unexpectedly dissipated ΔΨ. The ΔΨ preformed by valinomycin-K+ decreased gradually following the addition of increasing concentrations of anacardic acid. The ΔΨ dissipation rate was dependent on the pre-existing magnitude of ΔΨ, and was correlated with the logarithmic concentration of anacardic acid. Furthermore, the initial rate of ΔpH dissipation increased with logarithmic increases in anacardic acid concentration. These results provide the evidence for a unique function of anacardic acid, dissimilar to carbonylcyanide p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone or valinomycin, in that anacardic acid behaves as both an electrogenic (negative) charge carrier driven by ΔΨ, and a 'proton carrier' that dissipates the transmembrane proton gradient formed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)54-62
    Number of pages9
    JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002 Jan 2


    • Anacardic acid
    • Ionophore
    • Liposome
    • Membrane potential
    • Protonophore
    • Transmembrane pH difference

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biophysics
    • Biochemistry
    • Cell Biology


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